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So Grateful For A Community & Volunteers
Who Come Through in Such Trying Times

Nov. 23, 2022

   We are so very grateful!

   The Brigade is still recovering its footing after COVID and we’re still dealing with the after effects of rising costs and surging numbers of families in need. With skyrocketing growth during the first 12 weeks of the program year, we currently have 340-plus children enrolled just in time for the Thanksgiving break.

   As we move toward a whole-food approach, we spend between $600 to $800 a week for fresh fruits and vegetables for healthy snacks for each child.

   Every backpack is customized for the number of children, food allergies (gluten free, tree nuts, etc) and kitchen availability to meet the needs of our families.

   We have served families living in shelters, hotels, tents, cars and surfing couches over the years.

   Annually, the Brigade sends food boxes at Winter, Spring and Summer breaks to support our children while away from school meal support.

   We continue our community partnerships with WinCo, Grocery Outlet and Saars Super Saver Foods to honor our protein vouchers/coupons. We are thrilled that the monthly $25 protein vouchers (two or more vouchers for large families of 4-10 children), has been expanded this year.

   It now includes not only good protein sources like meat, fish, poultry, but also fresh milk, eggs, cheese, fresh fruits, and vegetables. This provides a variety of meal support for each individual family needs.

   In the first seven weeks of this school year, we served 302 children and the Brigade delivered over 750 backpacks of food, totaling 8,900 plus pounds. This averages 12 pounds of food per backpack. In this time frame the Brigade spent $17,200 to purchase over 10,250 pounds of food. This average cost of $1.68 per pound of food places the value of an average backpack at about $19.80. That is an increase of over 60% in food costs from two years ago.

   And we make emergency food boxes available. Sudden job loss, illness, death, or grandparents unexpectedly assuming responsibility for raising children are just a few situations we’ve encountered of families in crisis.

   This fall our Website has expanded to include budget friendly ’Recipes by Michelle’ as well as links to the monthly BBB newsletters and archives. You may also visit our Facebook page that is updated weekly with statistics on what we are sending out, current and upcoming events and volunteer opportunities for those interested.

   We are very grateful to the Bremerton School District, which provides us rent-free space for our pantry. And we're so thankful for all the wonderful elementary school teachers, interventionists and staff members who help us connect with the families at Catalyst Public Schools and Bremerton School District 100-C.

   And our amazing Volunteers make all the difference in the work of the Brigade. They are the heartbeat of our organization!   It is our Community, including businesses, faith groups,

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   In the first seven weeks of this school year, we served 302 children and the Brigade delivered over 750 backpacks of food, totaling 8,900 plus pounds.

   This averages 12 pounds of food per backpack. In this time frame the Brigade spent $17,200 to purchase over 10,250 pounds of food.

   This average cost of $1.68 per pound of food places the value of an average backpack at about $19.80.

   That is an increase of over 60 percent in food costs from two years ago.

civic organizations and many, many individuals, each offering their support in a wide variety of ways that has made all the changes and growth possible for the Bremerton Backpack Brigade.

   The Brigade is humbly grateful!

   The Need is Great, the Hunger is Very Real for the Children we serve!

   Happy Thanksgiving!!!

 

#Bremertonbackpackbrigade     #feedhungrykids

Oct. 14, 2022

Oct. 14, 2022

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Nov. 14, 2022

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West Sound Tech ASB Gathers Canned Food Thru Nov. 22

   Many thanks to the great students and staff at West Sound Technical Skills Center Associated Student Body (ASB) for hosting a food drive for the Brigade till November 22nd.

   These young adults are collecting food items to help the Brigade feed 300-plus children every weekend through our elementary school weekend feeding program at Catalyst Public Schools and Bremerton School District 100-C.

   It takes a lot of chicken soup to fill hungry tummies. so please support the West Sound Tech ASB food drive!

 #Bremertonbackpackbrigade      #feedhungrykids #westsoundtechnicalskillscenter 

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Nov. 11, 2022

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Kiwanis Key Club Gathers 600-plus lb of Food From Grocery Outlet shoppers

Nov. 10, 2022

   Last Saturday, young people from the Kiwanis Key Club in Bremerton collected over 660 pounds of food for the Brigade at the Grocery Outlet in East Bremerton!

   We are so grateful to these enthusiastic young adults, Darcee and Jeff, owners of the store, and the generous shoppers who donated all that food.

   Much of the food that was collected on Saturday went right back out the door today to help us feed the 300-plus children for the Veteran's Day weekend.

   This is a great example of how our community works together to make a difference in the lives of children living with food insecurity.

   Thank you everyone!

#Bremertonbackpackbrigade                 #feedhungrykids

#kiwanisclubofbremerton              #groceryoutlet

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Help! Backpack Brigade Facing Record
Caseload And Need for Holiday Treats

   The number of children and families needing help from the Brigade each week continues to grow.

   Today we've added one new family with five hungry children to our rolls since last Friday. It is Week 9 of the program year and we currently have more than 300 children enrolled.

   These are beyond crazy numbers for this time of year! We need your help to be able to keep up with the demands!

   With the holidays just around the corner, the Brigade is trying to include some "special treats" along with the "every week needs."

   We always need:

  •    16 oz plastic jars of peanut butter and jelly (and sun butter for children with nut allergies);

  •    hot and cold cereals;

  •    applesauce, and

  •    plain pasta

  •    canned meats. etc.

   Remember no glass, giant containers or expired dates for safety!

   Special surprises for the holiday breakfast could include pancake mix (just add water complete mix if possible) and syrup. For dessert think about fruit cobbler, brownie and cake mixes and icing to name just a few ideas. Think about what your family enjoys during the holiday (in addition to Grandma's green bean casserole). I bet our families would enjoy it too!

   Please check out your own pantry (this photo came from items in my home) or pick something up at the grocery store to donate. Consider hosting a food drive at your business, civic group, faith community or a create a challenge among your friends.

   The needs in Bremerton are great and the hunger is real. And the Brigade needs your help so we can continue to do our jobs to fight food insecurity!

#Bremertonbackpackbrigade                   #feedhungrykids

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Nov. 2, 2022

Volunteers Are Heroes! Chris and Ed
Show How We're All In This Together

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Nov. 2, 2022

   This is how volunteers make the world go round!

   This morning, Ed Chesvick (above) brought in nearly 50 pounds of food donated by a friend of his.

   Ed is a volunteer at both the Bremerton Backpack Brigade and Eastside Baby Corner.

   His friend, Chris Hall, is a volunteer at Eastside Baby Corner.

   These gentlemen are just two amazing examples of volunteering.

   The Brigade is incredibly grateful for the hearts (and hands) of our wonderful volunteers and volunteers everywhere. Volunteers make all the difference and help build a strong and healthier community!

   Thank you Chris and Ed for your passion for helping children in need! You Rock!

#Bremertonbackpackbrigade                         #feedhungrykids #eastsidebabycorner

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Busy November Includes Two Food Drives and Pantry Schedule Changes

Oct. 31, 2022

   Hold on to your hats!

   We’re staring NOVEMBER in the face and, especially if you are working in the pantry this month, November is brim-full of changes!!!

   Please read the attached November pantry schedule carefully, post it on your fridge if you need to but don’t take Friday packing or Wednesday prep for granted, because more often than not, the routine will have changed (just for November).

   In addition to the pantry schedule changes, November has two food drives for the Brigade happening.

  1.  On Saturday, Nov 5 between 9 and 4 the Grocery Outlet will be hosting a food drive. Youth from the KeyClub will be facilitating the event. Stop by and tell these young adults “Thank You” for giving their time to make a difference in the lives of 300-plus hungry children in our community.

  2. From Nov. 1 to Nov. 22, the West Sound Technical Skills Center located on National Avenue will be holding a food drive. You can help them reach their goal by dropping off some nonperishable foods. Every can of tuna/chicken makes a genuine difference
     

   So check your calendars, drop off some food, and hold on to your hats — it will be Thanksgiving before you know it!!!

#Bremertonbackpackbrigade      #feedhungrykids #groceryoutlet       #kiwanisclubofbremerton #westsoundtechnicalskillscenter

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Staff And Customers at Sylvan Way
Starbucks Donate 160-lb-plus of Food

Oct. 30, 2022

   Check it out: Just in time for Halloween, the Brigade received a great treat last week from the Starbucks staff and its customers at the Sylvan & Wheaton Way location.

   More than 160 pounds of food has been collected during their fall food drive. This gift will go a long way in helping the Brigade feed our 300-plus children we are currently serving each week.

   Much of the collection of food may turn around and go into the backpacks to feed children at Armin Jahr and View Ridge elementary schools. This amazing Starbucks team, located next to Kitsap Bank in East Bremerton, is not just making tasty brews for their wonderful customers but it is also reaching out to help fill hungry tummies in their local area.

    Thank you Starbucks and your generous customers. The Brigade knows that fighting food insecurity is a big deal.

   This is definitely a "win-win" in our book!
 

#Bremertonbackpackbrigade     #feedhungrykids #starbucks

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As We Continue to Add Families,
Volunteers Keep Program Humming

Oct. 30, 2022

   It is Halloween weekend for the Brigade with lots of treats floating around.

   We are so grateful for all the folks who came to help us fill backpacks with food and special treats and deliver today to the 8 elementary programs including Catalyst Public Schools and Bremerton School District 100-C.

    We have added six more families with 18 more children to our enrollment roster since last Friday. This translates to extra shopping and prep work but our amazing Volunteers made it look easy!

    And many thanks to the Kiwanis Club of Bremerton for their special Halloween bags for each child in a home. Three hundred bags carried the day. Each one included a treat to enjoy and a new toothbrushes with toothpaste to help keep the children's teeth clean and healthy!

   As the economy continues to be challenging for so many folks, we anticipate that our enrollment will continue to climb to new heights. Thank you to everyone for your support, laughter and deep passion for helping the Brigade fight food insecurity in our community.

#Bremertonbackpackbrigade                        #feedhungrykids                             #KiwanisClubofBremerton

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Brigade Now Serving 120 Families
With 280 Children, Six Weeks into Year

Oct. 21, 2022

   Wow! The rains are coming, the smoke is clearing, the leaves are falling and the temperature is cooler. Maybe it really is Autumn around our neck of the woods.

   And you know what else is happening?

   This week, only a mere six weeks into our official program year, there are 120 families with 280 children enrolled to receive help with food support and protein vouchers/coupons from the Brigade.

   And 15 of these households have 4 or more children sitting at the dinner table wondering what is for supper or if breakfast will be possible in the morning.

   Our Volunteers are so grateful to tell our families that we "have their backs" in the struggle with food insecurity.

   With 1600 lbs of food being packed out of our pantry and delivered to the 8 elementary programs at Catalyst Public Schools and Bremerton School District 100-C just today, these 280 children will have fuller tummies when they return to school on Monday morning!!!

   Thank you Bremerton for your generous support and to our amazing Volunteers for making this possible!      

   Enjoy the rain!

#Bremertonbackpackbrigade                #feedhungrykids

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Reach out to the Bremerton
Backpack Brigade


We welcome you to ask questions, provide feedback, connect us with potential partnerships,
or just say hello!

Your Donations
Are Always Welcome


We have donation locations throughout Bremerton, Washington, for convenient drop off of shelf-stable foods.
Thank you, always!

Please Come
Volunteer With Us


We always need help packing and delivering backpacks each week and with our recent expansion our need is greater than ever. And we have fun!