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Greensboro group strives to help hungry kids

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Many low-income students get free breakfast and lunch at school but on the weekends are unsure if they'll have any food on their plates.

Greensboro-based non-profit Backpack Beginnings is working to alleviate the concerns of these hungry kids, one bag at a time.

The group works with school social workers to identify kids in need and provides them with bags of food to take home with them every Friday.

Backpack Beginnings office manager Michele Alvarino says they're giving out approximately 1,400 bags every week, stocked with items such as non-perishable milk, cereal, canned meals and fruit juice.

The goal, she said, is "for the children to be able to open up everything by themselves, eat everything by themselves, without the use of a stovetop or anything that wouldn't be age appropriate."

For many of the children, it's the only thing they'll get to eat all weekend, Alvarino said.

Backpack Beginnings also has three other programs -- one that gives out clothes, one that provides pantries to middle schools and one that gives "comfort backpacks" to children who have been through traumatic experiences.

All of the workers at Backpack Beginnings offer their help strictly as volunteers. Retired Page High School teacher Kate Morrow says helping children who otherwise can't help themselves requires no paycheck.

"Anytime you can help somebody else," she said. "I think you receive more than you give."

For more information on Backpack Beginnings, visit It works in Guilford County Schools, but there are similar programs in other counties including Forsyth, Davie and Davidson. For more information, contact your school's social worker.