Blessings in a Backpack Grand Ledge is grateful for all the community members, groups, clubs, churches, sponsors and grantors who chipped in with time and/or money to make our program happen during the 2013-14 school year. Thanks to their contributions, we were able to provide approximately 8,640 bags of food on the weekends to the children who needed a little something extra to tide them over on the weekends.

While we try to thank everyone publicly throughout the year on our Facebook page and through letters to the editor in the Grand Ledge Independent, sometimes it is important to say it all in one place so that everyone can see what a community-wide effort it takes to make this program a success. We can’t say thanks enough!

Packing Site Volunteers – Working Behind the Scenes

Thank you to our packing site staff who show up at our donated room at the Sawdon Administration Building for 32 Wednesdays during the school year. They manage and buy the groceries, count the bags, prepare the bins for packing the bags, schedule the volunteers and keep the operation running like clockwork:

Bernie Johnson – Site Captain
Fay Schroder – Site Captain
Lyn Danes – Volunteer Coordinator
Dee Campbell – Coordinator Trainee

Logistics / Distribution Volunteers – Getting the Bags to the Kids

How do we get the groceries to the packing site, and how do those bins show up at the schools? Lots of behind the scenes volunteers, that’s how. Rain, sleet or snow (and there was a lot of the latter this year), the groceries were picked up every month and delivered to the packing site, and the bins of weekend food bags were delivered to the schools for distribution.
Thanks to:

-The Grand Ledge Lion’s Club (coordinated by Dave Peake) who pick up the grocery orders every month, and who also help with the distributions to some of the schools (Grand Ledge High School, Beagle, Neff Kindergarten Center).
-The Wacousta Lion’s Club (coordinated by Johnny Maahs) who pick up the bins of bags every week and deliver them to Wacousta Elementary.
-Erin Zulewski, of the Willow Ridge PTO, who picks up and distributes the bags for Willow Ridge.
-The City of Grand Ledge employees (coordinated by City Councilman Rick Lantz) who eagerly signed on this year to take over the distribution of the bags to a new school that we added on this year, Holbrook Early Childhood Education Center.
-The Beagle Distribution Team (coordinated by Reshay Tanasse) who handles the Friday distributions at Beagle.
-Pat Huhn, who delivers to St. Michael.

Program Sponsors – 2013-14 – We Couldn’t Do It Without You!

The businesses, churches, foundations and individuals who have stepped forward with a significant donation ($1,000 or more) to our program during the 2013-14 school year are as follows. We couldn’t do what we do without you! A big thank you goes out to:

Capital Region Community Foundation – Youth Action Committee
Class of 1962 – Grand Ledge High School
The Erskine Family (in memory of “Tim” Erskine)
First Congregational United Church of Christ
Grand Ledge First United Methodist Church
Grand Ledge Lion’s Club
Jeff & Sally Harrold
Jackson National Life
Lanjopoulos Chiropractic
St. Michael Parish
Dr. Scott Stevenson

Fundraising Events – Time and Effort Well-Spent

We had two successful fundraising events this year, and all the people that made them happen deserve a big round of applause!

-The Cruizin’ for Kids Car Show: Thanks to event sponsor PHP Family Care, and our hosts – the Capital City Corvette Club (CCCC). Thanks to Principal Dave Averill (also a CCCC member), Sandy Bechtel (CCCC) and Gloria Reiffer (CCCC and PHP Family Care) for all the effort that went into putting on this fun event. Thanks to the staff at Neff and the PTO for their support and help, too. Also thanks to the steering committee volunteers, relatives and spouses: Deb Peake, Annette & George Ryan, Jean & Mike Folk, Ron Erskine, Bonnie Bucqueroux, and Chris Richardson-Beagle & Mark Beagle for their feet-on-the-ground help that we needed to manage such an ambitious event.

-Caring Neighbor Foundation Golf Outing: The Caring Neighbor Foundation (CNF) hosted this event as a fundraiser for Blessings in a Backpack Grand Ledge. Thanks to Richard Currier and Chris Richardson-Beagle from the CNF (and incoming chair of BIABGL), who along with Deb Peake from BIABGL, worked together to make this a successful event. Thanks to Steve and Diane Peake, Jeanne Pearl-Wright, and all the golfers who signed up to play on that gorgeous day for making the event a great one.

Grand Ledge Public School Staff – The “Front Line”

From the donation of our packing site by the superintendent, to the secretary who discreetly slips a bag of food into a backpack on Friday afternoons, the Grand Ledge Public School staff plays a huge role in making sure that the kids are signed up for the program and that the bags get into their hands. We can’t thank you enough for caring about the children in your schools in this and many other ways.

Grand Ledge Independent – Keeping the Community Informed

A special thank you goes out to Editor Barb Modrack of the Grand Ledge Independent who is an unsung hero to the charities in Grand Ledge. If it weren’t for her willingness to inform the public about the needs in our community, the work of charities such as Blessings in a Backpack Grand Ledge would be impossible.

PTOs and PTAs – We Are Grateful For Your Support!

The PTO and PTA organizations in the schools work to support us in many ways, such as volunteering to pack the bags. And this past year, the Willow Ridge PTA donated the proceeds of the popcorn sales for their Family Fun Night to Blessings in a Backpack Grand Ledge.

2013-14 Steering Committee – 19 People Guiding the Program
Thanks to the Blessings in a Backpack Grand Ledge Steering Committee for taking time out of their busy evenings to attend meetings and help us make the important decisions for our program. While many of the members take on leadership roles that require a significant commitment of time, others take on functions that they have special talents for, such as letter writing or doing the art work. Thank you so much for everything! You are truly the backbone of our effort.

Note: The web master is fearful that she missed someone who provided a significant contribution of time or money, and would be grateful for an email or call if she has mistakenly done so. Contact: Tina Erskine at / 517-372-3437.


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