Red Backpacks
how it works     

Student Eligibility: Students are selected by professionals at the school they attend; each school sets their own eligibility guidelines. To remain in the program each child must have a completed consent form and must return the empty backpack every Monday. \

School Involvement: School professionals may choose up to 25 students before seeking permission from the Backpack Coordinator to add additional students. Each school must have a Volunteer Leader who oversees weekly distribution of full backpacks and collection of empty backpacks.
Preparation and delivery of Backpacks: Volunteers clean and repack the backpacks each week in an “assembly line” process. Full backpacks are delivered to schools midweek and empty backpacks are picked up early the next week. GROW U Nutrition’s Central Food Distribution Center is Chappell School, 111 S. Wallace Blvd in Ypsilanti, MI.
Food Purchases and Donations: Most food is purchased through Food Gatherers of Washtenaw County. GROW U Nutrition also gratefully accepts donations of large quantities of snack items from local stores for the backpacks. For 2018 Meijer will donate $10,000 worth of food for the backpacks.
 how to get involved
Coordinator: help determine most efficient packing process, purchase food from Food Gatherers and other stores, oversees backpack volunteers listed below; 30 hours/week
School Liaison: this person is the main contact to a given school, works with the principal or social worker to see that children receive backpacks, and forms relationship with school personnel; 1 hour per week per school

Church liaison: main contact in each church, helps recruit volunteers from the church and keeps their church informed of the impact the backpacks are making in families’ lives; ½ hour per week

Backpack cleaners/disinfectors: ½ hour per week
Backpack packers: fill the backpack with food items; 1 hour per week
Backpack deliverers: take backpacks to school when full and retrieve empty backpacks at beginning of week – depending on time of transport; 2 -3 hours per week