Arvada Community Food Bank Kicks Off Backpack-a-Roo Club

 08/28/2015 | 09:38 AM 

The Arvada Community Food Bank kicked off its new Backpack-a-Roo Club at a celebratory event with nearly 75 people in attendance in early August. A highlight of the kick-off event was a boxing match between Backpack-a-Roo Club mascot Roodie Roo and Arvada Mayor Marc Williams. Also in attendance were representatives for the City of Arvada, Jeffco Public Schools, Jefferson County Head Start, and more.

Backpack-a-Roo Club mascot Roodie Roo kicks-off the club’s launch in a friendly boxing match with Arvada Mayor Marc Wiliams.

Backpack-a-Roo Club mascot Roodie Roo kicks-off the club’s launch in a friendly boxing match with Arvada Mayor Marc Wiliams.

The Backpack-a-Roo Club is a membership club initiative that will support the Food Bank’s Feeding the Future Backpack Program. Now in its tenth year, the Backpack Program has graduated from one school, Foster Elementary, serving 180 kids to an in-demand program that provides sacks of food to feed 1,700 students and their families at 15 elementary schools and two Head Start programs in Arvada and Wheat Ridge. Hundreds of volunteers give their time each week to gather, pack and distribute weekend food and snacks for program participants.

“In the past decade we have had the privilege of providing hundreds of thousands of weekend meals to tens of thousands of children in Northern Jefferson County,” said Arvada Community Food Bank Executive Director Sandy Martin. Even with the program’s large expansion and success over the years, there are still needs to be met and a waiting list of schools that want to be added to the program.

Although the Colorado economy is recovering, nearly one in four (more than 22,000) children in Jefferson County continue to face food insecurity. This is defined as the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe food, according to Feeding America’s map the meal gap by county report. With federal budget cuts and changes to Colorado’s commodity food distribution, the Food Back needs to increase its food purchases by more than 30 percent to meet the Backpack Program’s needs. “The Backpack-a-Roo Club will provide us with the funds needed to continue serving the children in our community facing food insecurity,” Martin explained.

The Backpack-a-Roo Club is a way for the community to get involved and give back. The monthly cost of membership equals the price of one lunch out and will feed one child for a weekend. The annual Backpack-a-Roo Club membership fee is $120, which can be paid via a one-time credit card payment online or set-up as a pre-authorized monthly credit card payment, among other options. The $120 approximates the cost of one child’s weekend sack for a whole year. Backpack-a-Roo Club members will receive a branded decal to display on their car, home or office, a membership card, an e-newsletter with program highlights and invitations to special events. To sign up, visit www.backpackaroo.org.


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