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Students from the greater Tuxedo community came together on Tuesday for a service project to help provide healthy food options to local children.  

Tuxedo Park School eighth and ninth-graders met-up with George F. Baker High School eighth-grade students at the George Grant Mason School to unload, sort and store donated food items.  The food items were donated by Tuxedo Park School families during September.  In the joint effort, Baker and TPS students unloaded and neatly stocked the shelves of the elementary school pantry.

“Our students jumped at the opportunity to join forces with Baker High School students,” said Kate Vignola, service program coordinator, and TPS French teacher. “The whole school gets behind this food drive because they know how important it is that children to come to school on Monday focused on learning, not hunger.”

The Tuxedo Union Free School District provides the food items to local families who qualify for the reduced/free lunch program.  These food donations provide students with nutritious and easy-to-prepare food they need to get enough to eat on the weekend.  

Student sorts food items

“It’s community-based outreach between two schools that we hope to see continue to grow year after year,” said Diane Petrosky, former school board member, and longtime backpack program volunteer. “It’s amazing to see children helping children.”

Petrosky expects the donation made by Tuxedo Park School to last into December.  She will restock the supply as required by using fundraiser money conducted by other local organizations.

Ninth-grade student Piper Jenkins said, “I feel so fortunate to have the privilege of helping others while at TPS at the same time working with students from Tuxedo and getting to know them.”

During the school day on Fridays, eligible students are provided a backpack of food items to last them the weekend.  Hence the name, Backpack Program.

More about the Feeding America BackPack Program:
Twenty-two million children receive free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program and the National School Breakfast Program. For many of these children, school meals may be the only meals they eat. What happens when they go home over the weekend?

For more than 15 years, the Feeding America BackPack Program has been helping children get the nutritious and easy-to-prepare food they need to get enough to eat on the weekends. Today, bags of food are assembled at more than 160 local food banks and then distributed to more than 450,000 children at the end of the week.