Bremerton Backpack Brigade
is a nonprofit organization 501(c)3
We are endorsed by the Bremerton School District, governed by a Board of Directors, supported by local businesses & civic organizations, as well as many individuals, and our work is facilitated exclusively by volunteers.
The Bremerton Backpack Brigade exists to provide a supplemental food source on weekends for children in need throughout the eight Bremerton Elementary schools, including West Hills Restorative and Catalyst Public schools.
Each week during the school year, volunteers fill backpacks with practical kid friendly foods, including fresh fruit and vegetables, shelf-stable milk and juice. Those backpacks are then delivered to the schools, where the staff discreetly distributes them to the students enrolled in the program. The students return the backpacks to their school on Mondays, to be picked up and refilled for the following weekend.
With remote learning because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which started in March 2020, the Brigade has pivoted to "Take Home" bags and observes safety precautions including masks, social distancing and hand-washing, as well as limiting the number of people in our pantry at one time. We've also are purchasing more food to make up for not being able to hold food drives.
Programs like ours have been shown to increase attendance, decrease behavior problems, improve concentration abilities and improve academic achievement.
Over 65% of the students enrolled in Bremerton elementary schools are on the subsidized lunch program.
Due to homelessness, financial struggles and an array of other issues prevalent today, food provided at school often make up the most nutritious meals children will receive all day. For some, those meals may be the only ones they will receive that day.
Area teachers are increasingly concerned at the growing number of students arriving to school each Monday morning, hungry. This is where we come in.
The Bremerton Backpack Brigade exists to address that concern!