On average, Plainfield non-profit Bags of Hope delivers anywhere from 50-65 backpacks of food to Plainfield-area students during the first month of each new school year.
Those numbers slowly start to climb as the calendar progresses in to the fall, usually settling at around 150 bags per week for the remainder of the year.
2020 hasn’t been an average year however.
When the Coronavirus pandemic struck in in mid-March, volunteers saw a sharp spike in requests for food assistance going from 160 to 315 families in need of help in the first 2 weeks of the shelter in place order. A week later, that number grew to just under 400.
As the second week of remote learning starts for the 2020/2021 school year, the group is already working to fill bags for 301 students.
At an average cost of $10 – $12 per bag, that adds up quickly, said Stephanie Jerabek who along with several other volunteers held a food drive on Saturday, September 19, at the Prairie Activity & Recreation Center as part of September’s Hunger Action Month.
Since its founding in 2016, Jerabek said that the mission of Bags of Hope has been to give kids enough food to get them through the weekend allowing them to return to school on Monday ready to learn.
The organization operates solely on the work of volunteers as well as monetary and food donations from the community and local businesses.
There is still time left to make a donation during Hunger Action Month, which runs through the end of September. Please also consider making donations throughout the year to assist with the ongoing need in the community.