'Back the Pack' drive aims to expand weekend meal program to all elementary, middle schools in Grand Forks school district

Food and monetary donations for the Backpack Program will be accepted 8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily through Thursday, Sept. 2, at Alerus Center south entrance

Northlands Rescue Mission Backpack Program coordinator, Korrine Nadeau, and Matt Collings, communications coordinator, discuss the "Back the Pack" drive at the Mission on Friday, August 27, 2021. They are pictured with the type of food items distributed through the Backpack Program and the totes used to distribute bags of food for kids to take home from school for the weekend. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

The Northlands Rescue Mission is launching a “Back the Pack” drive this week to ensure that children who are eligible for the Backpack Program in Grand Forks public schools do not go hungry on the weekends this school year.

Food items or monetary donations may be dropped off between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., daily through Thursday, Sept. 2, at the Alerus Center’s south entrance, Door 1. A list of recommended food items is available online at .

The Backpack Program has been serving students who qualify for free and reduced-price lunch in five elementary schools in the Grand Forks school district. The Back the Pack drive will allow the Mission to expand the Backpack Program to eligible students in all public elementary and middle schools in the district.

Families that qualify for free and reduced-price lunches need to register with the school district for the Backpack Program, which is expected to restart in mid- to late-September, according to Korrine Nadeau, Backpack Program and volunteer coordinator.

If every child who’s eligible to enroll does enroll, 122 totes, each containing 18 bags, would need to be delivered to the schools each week, Nadeau said.


A host of churches, businesses and organizations provide volunteers who help with packing and distribution, but, with this expanded effort, many more volunteers are needed and the time commitment is flexible -- even to include evenings, she said.

For more information, contact Nadeau at the Mission, (701) 772-6600, or go online to .

Pamela Knudson is a features and arts/entertainment writer for the Grand Forks Herald.

She has worked for the Herald since 2011 and has covered a wide variety of topics, including the latest performances in the region and health topics.

Pamela can be reached at or (701) 780-1107.
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