LPS BackPack Walk raises $1.3 million and climbing – filling family fridges

Thousands of walkers streamed around Lincoln East High School on a brisk spring morningSaturday, all wearing bright turquoise t-shirts that proclaimed their cause: “BackPack Extra Mile Walk, Helping to Feed Families One BackPack at a Time.”

The ninth annual BackPack Walk – a partnership initiative of Lincoln Public Schools and the Food Bank of Lincoln – raised more than $145,000 this year and donations are still climbing. That means the annual walk has raised more than $1.3 million since it began – with the goal of “Filling the Fridge” for the children of our community.

Shari Styskal, director of Budget at LPS and the woman who coordinates the BackPack Walk: “Thanks to everyone for all their hard work and another fantastic BackPack Extra Mile Walk.”

Alynn Sampson, director of Youth and Family Programs for the Food Bank: “This is remarkable that we keep getting this many people coming out – after all these years – to help feed the kids of Lincoln. It means a lot to the Food Bank, to our kids, to our community.”

Liz Standish, associate superintendent for Business Affairs at LPS: “Thank you so much for helping address hunger in our community as we raise money to send more BackPacks home every Friday with our students – as we work to fill the fridge for all the families in our community.”

Schools with the most donations in their category were:

  •  Maxey Elementary School
  •  Lux Middle School
  •  Lincoln East High School

The annual event is not only a fund-raiser, but also an educational opportunity. So please continue to help spread the word about the BackPack program.

  •  The BackPack Program provides food-filled backpacks that are sent home each Friday to many LPS families in need – to help them get through the weekends.
  •  The Food Bank of Lincoln launched the BackPack Program during the 2004-05 school year at Clinton Elementary School, sending home backpacks on Friday afternoons with 50 kids.Currently 2,582 students at 38 LPS schools receive weekly food-filled backpacks. The program now also includes students from private and parochial schools in Lincoln, as well as from 29 rural communities.
  •  During the first three months of the 2015-16 school year, a record 43,092 food-filled backpacks were distributed. At the conservative estimate of five meals per backpack, that means this year the BackPack program has provided 215,460 meals.
  •  The need continues to grow dramatically: This school year 16,413 of LPS students – 42.7 percent of our student population – qualify for free and reduced lunch.
  •  Children who live in poverty face tougher odds for achievement than do other children. Children who live in poverty for at least half their childhoods are 90 percent more likely to leave high school without a diploma and four times more likely to be an unwed teen parent when compared with people who were never poor as a child.
Thanks to the BackPack Extra Mile Steering Committee:
Shari Styskal, Zachary Baehr, Mindy Burbach, Sue Cassata, De Ann Currin, Gary Czapla, Pat Hunter-Pirtle, Mary Kay Roth, Cindy Schwaninger, John Neal, Liz Standish and Greg Tebo from Lincoln Public Schools – and John Mabry, Michaella Kumke, Alynn Sampson, and Scott Young from the Food Bank.