Nearly one in four North Hills School District students qualifies for the National School Lunch, which assures that eligible students receive free lunch and breakfast on school days. For many area families, and 31 million children across the nation, securing meals during the weekend can prove to be difficult.
Due to those difficulties, the North Hills Backpack Initiative was started last school year by Kathy Helfrich, a North Hills Senior High guidance counselor, and Holly Michael, a gifted education teacher.
The duo saw a need to supplement weekend food supplies for students who qualify for free meals during the school day. Along with other teachers and staff, they endeavored to meet students’ most basic need and prevent extreme hunger for students whose families cannot afford meals.
The program operates on donations and an estimated 36,000 food items will be required this year for local families in need as 1,000 items are distributed weekly. Approximately 150 North Hills District families in five district buildings rely upon the program each week for individual care packages and family-size bags of food packed by North Hills students.
Donation boxes are located in every district building. Suggested donations include single-serving and individually packaged:
- Snack crackers
- Sandwich crackers
- Fruit and fruit cups
- Single-serving cereals
- Granola and cereal bars
- Hearty soups
- Canned Pasta Meals
- Boxed Macaroni & Cheese
Monetary donations also are accepted and can be sent to North Hills Junior High School, Attn: Backpack Initiative, 55 Rochester Road, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15237. Make checks payable to North Hills Foundation and include “Backpack Initiative” in the memo line.
To donate food items, contact Kathy Helfrich at 412-318-1458.
- Submitted by Amanda S.F. Hartle on behalf of the North Hills School District. Have news you'd like to share with Patch readers? Email information and photos to Richard Cook at Richard.Cook@Patch.com.
See More on Patch
- Mark Your Calendar: North Hills School District 41st Annual Arts Alive
- North Hills Baseball Teams Hit Home Run for Backpack Initiative
- Ross Resident, Heinz Foundation Manager, Seeks Seat on North Hills School Board
- North Hills Parent, Grad, Volunteer Seeks Seat on School Board
- North Hills' Empty Bowls Event Raises $1200 for Local Families in Need