By Jim Newell
Review Staff Writer
Beginning this fall, another 100 Orion students will receive Blessings in a Backpack.
GM awarded a $10,000 grant to Blessings in a Backpack – Lake Orion on Aug. 17, and the funds will go toward increasing the nonprofit’s efforts to provide weekend meals to students in need, said Kellie McDonald, chairperson of the Orion group.
“Feeding these kids and making sure they are not hungry is really impactful for the community,” McDonald said.
The Orion program provides 300 bags of food per weekend during the school year – six meals to each student each weekend — to those in danger of food insecurity.
Blessings in a Backpack will now provide an additional 100 pre-school children with weekend meals, McDonald said.
Currently, the program assists children in all seven Orion elementary schools, three middle schools and with the in-class snack program at the high school, she said.
More than 1,500 students in the district are on the free/reduced lunch program and at risk for weekend food insecurity, according to the Blessings in a Backpack website.
Of those students, more than 300 depend on their weekend-back pack to get them to their next meal Monday morning.
“People automatically assume that this is a problem only in Detroit or Pontiac,” McDonald said. “They would be surprised to learn that there are students here who are in danger of food insecurity.”
“100 percent of any donation goes back to the feeding the children in our schools,” McDonald said. “We are a 100 percent volunteer program.”
For more details on the program, to donate or to volunteer, visit the program online at blessingsinabackpacklakeorion.org.
The GM Foundation’s philanthropic Community Grants Program awarded $50,000 during the ceremony at the General Motors’ Pontiac Metal Center.
Three other nonprofit organizations also received grants: Oakland Family Services, Pontiac Center for Success and the Baldwin Center.
“GM Foundation funds will help to improve quality of life in our local communities,” said Jim Quick, Orion Assembly and Pontiac Metal Center plant manager.
“Total appreciation to today’s recognized organizations for keeping philanthropic and community efforts in Orion and Pontiac.”
By Jim Newell