This year, an extra special backpack will be going home with some
Franklin elementary school students every Friday. It contains no books, no homework, no pencils. Yet, it may impact their ability to learn like never before.
The backpacks will be filled with child-friendly foods for kids in need. With no access to school-provided meals on the weekends, some families struggle to provide enough food for their kids. The food will help fill the weekend hunger gap experienced by some children in our community.
The Weekend Backpack Program is a partnership between Franklin Public Schools and the Franklin Food Pantry. The official roll out is underway this month to all elementary and ECDC students. Each school is coordinating its own sign-ups for interested families. The Pantry provides all of the food and coordinates volunteers to pack the backpacks and distribute them to each school every week. Names of students are kept confidential and are not shared with the Pantry. Through private donations, the program is funded by the Pantry at no cost to the Town of Franklin or participating families.
Children experiencing hunger have difficulty concentrating, are socially withdrawn and are less likely to excel academically. Our hope through the Weekend Backpack Program is to help provide enough fuel for learning so that students thrive in school - academically and emotionally.
We are thrilled to be part of this incredible collaborative effort with Franklin Public Schools that has gained the support of so many - School Superintendent Sara E. Ahern, Ed.D., elementary school principals, adjustment counselors, school nurses, teachers and PCCs. A true spirit of cooperation and commitment to the health of our community makes this program possible.
P.S. - I would like to give special thanks to Bristol County Savings Bank for its recent expansion grant to grow this program; and the Hockomock Area YMCA for the initial grant last year that launched the pilot program at Parmenter Elementary School. We are grateful for your support!
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