There’s a Place for You at our Table

Food is a necessity that nourishes the body but at BackPack Beginnings we have found that it also feeds the hunger for community. As a 95% volunteer run organization people are our mission. Our volunteers may sit at different seats and come together for the mission to feed serve children but stay for the community. This pandemic has not only increased the need for resources but also increased the need for a place to belong. 

Making family bags filled with between 6-8 pounds of shelf stable food is a big task that requires thousands of dollars and over 75 volunteers each week. This is accomplished by retirees, students needing service hours, veterans, young adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities, families volunteering together, corporations working as a team, and generous citizens that want to fight against food insecurity in Guilford County. Food is a resource that meets many physical and emotional needs for everyone in our community. 

At BackPack Beginnings, because of generous donations and grants, we have been able to be a resource for 3 different partners that support those with disabilities in our community. We are able to schedule private times for the non profit Lifespan to do one on one assessments with  young adults to show their ability to follow instructions and complete basic tasks. After they volunteer for an hour the information gathered by the accessor is then used to help them find a job in the community that fits their skill level. We have also partnered with Lionheart Academy of the Triad to donate expired shelf stable food, unusable clothes and hangers. With these resources they are creating a mock store for their students to learn life skills such as sorting food into categories, stocking shelves, hanging and folding clothes and other tasks to give them experience and prepare for jobs. Additionally, we are a place where students in the Beyond Academics program at UNCG are able to get service learning hours and use us as a community reference for them on their resumes. We are committed to utilizing the resources donated to us for more than just feeding the body but also feeding the needs in the community! Everyone has a place at our table.

At BackPack Beginnings we are so fortunate to have many faithful retirees that volunteer with us each week. It is so apparent that they are the unsung heroes in our community. The decades of service that they gave in their careers have created a foundation for rockstar status philanthropy! Their knowledge, attention to detail, flexibility and availability is what enables us to grow and resource more children each year. The sense of renewed purpose is so fun to watch as they flourish in being assigned areas of responsibility in the warehouse or at their delivery locations. One man is lovingly referred to as “Pop Pop” by some children that drive through to pick up food each Friday where he faithfully distributes family bags at a Grab N Go site every week. Another retiree recently said that she needs to volunteer at BackPack Beginnings and the people here are now her extended family. That need and hunger for community is felt and reciprocated.

BackPack Beginnings needs community. Whether it is onsite volunteering, food delivery, or monetary donations the local community is being fed because of it. The people that have need for resources and the people that have need for community meet at the same table and connect over food. Everyone has a place at our table. Will you join us?

– Mallory Goodman