For our latest volunteer project, team BMG chose JJ Packs. We spent the evening packing snacks that are included in the food packs send home with kids over the weekend. Below is a bit more about JJ Packs:
Marquette schools offer free or reduced breakfast and lunches for children from low income households. However, more is needed. Many children go hungry on days they do not get school meals. Two parents, friends and neighbors, Habby Vigfusdottir and Kevin Carr, decided to help address this need by establishing a program called JJ Packs. The programs mission is to help end child hunger in Marquette.
JJ Packs is a weekend food pack program that gets healthy and nutritious food to children in need on weekends when schools free lunch and breakfast programs are not available. The program is named after Habby’s oldest son, Jakob, 12, who raised money for a food pack program last year when they lived in Missouri. Since one of Habby’s 3 children and both of Kevin’s children attend Graveraet Elementary, they presented the idea to the school Principal, Dr. Sara Kemppainen. There they found a welcoming and supportive home for their program. In the first weekend in January, JJ Packs sent out its first 30 packs and from that point on the program has grown every month to better meet the needs of children within the Marquette Area Public Schools district. The program now has a sustainable program in all four elementary schools: Graveraet, Cherry Creek, Superior Hills and Sandy Knoll, as well as the Alternative High School and Marquette Senior High School. Since fall 2016, we send out approximately 220 packs each week. Our long term goal is to serve all Marquette Area Public Schools. Twenty seven percent of children in Marquette elementary schools fall under the poverty line. Our goal is to reach every child that receives free breakfast and lunch at school. We have now reached about 20% of the children. JJ Packs mission is to be a sustainable program as long as there is need.
It is simple to receive a JJ Pack. Every school sends out a letter where families can simply check a box and send it back to school. Nutrition is the backbone of our program. We pack fresh fruits and vegetables, non-GMO canned goods, low or no sugar cereals and oatmeal. We avoid artificial ingredients. We are not only looking to give our children certain amounts of calories but much rather providing them wholesome and nutritious foods. More information can be found on our Facebook page.
Our program relies on monetary donations and volunteer help. Every Friday the packs are made with the help of volunteers and transported to each school for distribution. We realize that without the help from these wonderful volunteers, the generous donations from local businesses, parents and other community members, the program would not be possible.
If you’d like to volunteer to help, contact JJ Packs via their facebook page.