In the Bath area, over 600 schoolchildren face chronic hunger. The current pandemic and economic crisis have caused a terrible upsurge in these numbers. Demand for food from food banks, pantries, feeding programs and other sources has risen sharply. The students served often come from difficult family situations, with absent or challenged parents, or who are homeless, and need food they can open and eat when they’re hungry.
The Bath Area Back Pack Program (BABPP) was founded in 2014, with active participation of Grace Church parishioners (three of whom serve on the board). BABPP’s mission is to provide weekend and vacation food for hungry children when they do not have access to school-provided free and reduced-price meals. BABPP is a 501 (c) 3 organization, and relies on a dedicated core of volunteers to purchase and distribute food.
The program serves over 200 students and families in the Bath area, including Bath, Phippsburg and Woolwich, from kindergarten through high school. BABPP provides food through several channels. It provides weekend bags of food for younger children to bring home from school. It stocks in-school pantries where older children and high school students can select food items. Working with Good Shepherd Food Bank, BABPP distributes 1,400 pounds of fresh produce each month free of charge through schools and partner organizations. BABPP provides snacks and food items through the Midcoast Youth Center, and works with the YMCA Veggie Van to provide food items to children and their caregivers.
BABPP enjoys the strong support of local churches (including Grace Episcopal), foundations, businesses and individuals, including many Grace parishioners.