What is Elijah’s Backpack?
Many families struggle to eat healthy meals and snacks every day. Elijah’s Backpack, a free community ministry sponsored by St. Philip Lutheran Church in Roanoke, Virginia, helps families eat more healthy meals and snacks through their local elementary school.
Each Friday afternoon elementary school children receive a pack of healthy food and snacks in their backpacks. Elijah’s Backpack may include the following items: cereal, breakfast bars, oatmeal, juice, tuna kits, macaroni and cheese, peanut butter crackers, soup, apple sauce, fruit cups, ravioli, vegetables, milk, and other nutritious food.
Elijah’s Backpack works with families at Mountain View Elementary and Burlington Elementary, in Roanoke County. The school principal and guidance counselor select participants based upon need. Program participation is kept confidential. A parent or guardian must return a signed permission form for their child to participate. This form is available from their elementary school counselor.
The prophet Elijah was sent by God to visit Zarephath, where he met a widow and her son. When he arrived, Elijah was quite hungry and asked for food. The widow had so little food for herself and her son that she feared they would die of hunger, yet she shared her own bread with Elijah. God responded by providing more than enough for the three to eat together. (1 Kings 17:8-16) God calls us to serve all who hunger (Matthew 25:35-40; James 2:15-16). The story of Elijah reminds us that those who are hungry are also our sisters and brothers, gifted by God and very often sharing what they have with others in need.
Children carrying more than just books in their backpacks
Elijah’s Backpack is supported by St. Philip Lutheran Church, Hollins First Baptist Church, Enon Baptist Church, Hollins Church of the Nazarene, Northview United Methodist Church, Summerdean Church of the Brethren, Life Academy, Faith Alliance Church, Burlington Elementary, Mountain View Elementary, Feeding America Food Bank, Hollywood’s Restaurant, and donations from individuals supporting Elijah’s Backpack. We are seeking other community partners.
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