Backpack Initiative to Fight Hunger

A new program will begin in the Deer Lakes School District. The program is called Backpack Initiative to Fight Hunger.

The Deer Lakes Board of School Directors approved a request from former Deer Lakes teacher Mrs. Carol McCaskey to introduce the initiative at East Union Intermediate and Curtisville Primary Centers beginning in January and will target students in kindergarten through fifth grade.

A letter will go home with each elementary child at the end of November asking the parents to sign and return it if they would like to participate. Officials plan to work out a distribution method that will not stigmatize or embarrass students.

The program would include sending a bag lunch home with the children each Friday. At this time there would be no eligibility requirements. Each brown bag would include 2 breakfasts such as single serving cereal and breakfast bar and 2 lunches such as single serving soup and mac and cheese. Also, included in the bag would be possibly 2 dairies such as pudding, 2 cheese crackers, and 2 containers of fruit. The above are suggestions and would be single-serving sizes. Selections will depend on what is available. If there is not enough food available, distribution will not take place that week.

The initiative is modeled after a successful program called the Backpack Initiative to Fight Hunger, in the North Hills School District with serves Ross Township and West View.

Mrs. McCaskey is asking the East Deer, Frazer and West Deer communities to help if possible. Help can be donations of single serving items, such as canned fruit and fruit cups, fruit juice, dried fruit, oatmeal, whole grain crackers, cereal, trail mix, soups, snack size foods, food bars such as granola bars, peanut butter, baked beans, almonds, canned meats, microwave popcorn, pudding packs, apple sauce packs, canned ravioli, spaghetti O's, macaroni and cheese, canned vegetables, or vegetable juice.

Food donations can be sent to the schools where boxes will be placed for collection or call Carol at 724-312-5656 for pick-up. The Backpack Initiative to Fight Hunger will begin accepting food items in December.

Monetary donations can be sent to Backpack Initiative to Fight Hunger, 292 East Union Road, Cheswick, PA 15024. Please make checks payable to DL Backpack Initiative.

To get more information about the Deer Lakes Initiative to Fight Hunger or to make a donation, contact Carol McCaskey at 724-312-5656 or