Backpack Buddies

In Grand Rapids, 86% of students are eligible for free or reduced lunch. In order to help children in our community, The Junior League of Grand Rapids (JLGR), in close partnership with The YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids, has launched the pilot program Backpack Buddies. Backpack Buddies provides nutritious pre-packed meals to students who may be food insecure to help bridge the gap between Friday and Monday.

Backpack Buddies impacts the same elementary school students each week and will provide over 500 meals between January 13, 2017 to June 9, 2017. These students attend River City Scholars in Grand Rapids where 100% of the students are eligible for free and reduced lunch. JLGR’s volunteers distribute meals and engage with students through physical activity, games, or homework help. Together, JLGR and the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids will have the privilege to impact the same group of children every week!

The nutritious meals are strategically sourced by The YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids’ Food Services Program from local farmers and food distributors, while the funding for Backpack Buddies is provided by JLGR and their generous donors.

JLGR will continue to expand Backpack Buddies to fight food insecurity and hunger in the Grand Rapids area. This is yet another way that the Junior League will be strengthening our community focus of improving children’s physical health!

Please contact us at for more information about our new program!