PARS Preparing for Another Year of BackPack Program-Asks for Monetary Donations and Volunteers

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PIERRE, S.D. – (DRG News) With the start of school next week, the Pierre Area Referral Service is getting ready to kick off another year of the BackPack Program for elementary school age children who attend classes in Pierre and Fort Pierre.  The program was piloted at a Pierre elementary school in 2008 and served 130 kids that first year.  By last year, it had grown to serve elementary schools in the Pierre and Stanley County Districts.  An average of 300-325 bags were passed out each week to qualifying students and each bag contained various weekend snacks and meal items for use over the weekend.  PARS Executive Director Laura White says to run the program for an entire school year, it costs just over $37,000.  She says the program is a big help for youngsters who may not have enough food to eat in their homes.

She says students who qualify for free lunch or students who are chosen by principals or counselors are those who receive each week’s food bags.

White says bags include items like Ramen noodles, oatmeal packs, a box of raisins, fruit snacks, a jello or pudding pack, applesauce or a fruit cup and some kind of can dinner like Spaghettios or lasagna.

The cost to offer the food packs for just one week is $1,040.00.  White says the program is run through monetary and food donations and volunteers.

Those that would like offer donations or volunteer to assemble the bags for the students to be distributed to the elementary schools can contact PARS at 224-8731 or visit the website

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