BALLSTON SPA – Milton Terrace Elementary School will be expanding the Scotties BackPack Program this year thanks in part to a $3,000 donation from the Rotary Club of Ballston Spa presented during Wednesday’s Ballston Spa Central School District Board of Education meeting.
Milton Terrace launched the Scotties BackPack Program in collaboration with the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York last spring to provide selected students with a backpack full of non-perishable, easy to prepare food every Friday to be eaten over the weekend. The backpack is returned on Monday, so that it can be filled again the following Friday.
The program is designed to meet the needs of hungry children on the weekends when school meal resources are unavailable. Each backpack provides students with the equivalent of six meals.
Currently the program serves 30 students who have been selected to receive the weekly backpack throughout the school year. Volunteers from the Living Hope Christian Church and the Milton Terrace Parent Teacher Association organize and distribute the backpacks to students before each weekend.
The Rotary Club of Ballston Spa provided a donation of $3,000 to the district during Wednesday’s school board meeting to support the cost of participating in the program.
“What we do as Rotarians is really try to make the world a better place, which is something we do on a worldwide basis and something we try to do locally,” said rotary club President Stephen Williams. “Children have always been a priority for rotary.”
“We know there is need here in the district and a child who comes to school Monday morning hungry is not going to learn as well as a student who is well fed and it’s the early years learning, which lay the ground for the success that, hopefully, they will experience throughout their lives. We think this is a really important program and we’re honored to be able to help,” Williams said.
The Regional Food Bank estimates the cost of providing the weekly backpacks to 30 students each year to be $5,500.
“I’m excited to share that this year we are going to be able to expand [the Scotties BackPack Program] to 40 students at Milton Terrace Elementary School thanks to the generous donation from the rotary club,” said Madeleine Petraglia, the district’s coordinator of development.
“Milton Terrace is very grateful, as Madeleine said, for the generous donation from the Ballston Spa Rotary Club,” Milton Terrace Principal Dr. Kathleen Chaucer said. “This means that more children at the schools do not go hungry over the weekend. As we shared in the past, the success and the experience of the backpack program is because of the many parts of the community who have come together to make this happen.”
BSCSD Board of Education President Kevin Schaefer noted that there are times when school district’s must rely on outside help to support their students, expressing his appreciation for all of the people and organizations who participate in the backpack program and thanking the Rotary Club of Ballston Spa for their donation.
The Scotties BackPack Program is also being sponsored by Saratoga Hospital. The program runs for 30 weeks each school year from October through mid-June. Additional information on the backpack program is available on the Regional Food Bank’s website at http://regionalfoodbank.net/backpack-program/.