BackPack meals program sees spike in need

Ginny Mermel knew she would see demand increase as the school year wore on, but she didn’t expect this.

Mermel runs the BackPack Meals Program, a nonprofit initiative that puts food in the backpacks of needy kids as they leave school each Friday.

Mermel started the program in 2009 with a seed grant from the Montana Food Bank Network to provide food-filled backpacks to elementary school students. Backpacks are offered to students who qualify in the district’s eight Title I schools.

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