HANCOCK — What started six years ago as a kind act of generosity has turned into a semi annual event that brings good Samaritans together from across the Keweenaw as they ensure that students in the Copper Country have the nourishment they need to sustain their diets through their upcoming school vacation.

31 Backpacks is a non profit organization founded by mother and daughter team Laurel and Melissa Maki. The Makis have been working with schools closely since 2012, and collect donations throughout the year that goes toward purchasing food from the local food bank and grocers.

They then donate that food each week to K-12 students who are dependent on their school’s menu and don’t have enough to get through the weekend.

“We have been providing food on weekends. Every school weekend for the kids that are in need in the area and came to the conclusion that if they’re going hungry for two days, imagine what a 9-day break must be like,” said Melissa.

With spring break around the corner, the organization has its hands full as it prepares over a week and a half’s worth of food items that will make its way into the kitchens of nearly two hundred homes in the area.

“So twice a year, we go and buy a lot of stuff. You can see this is a quite a bit of food that were going to be sending home. It’s four kitchen sized garbage bags for each student. And we load up the buses and they take them back to school,” Melissa added.

Nearly 50 volunteers showed their support for the cause last night at Glad Tidings Church in Hancock, where they filled nearly 800 bags full of groceries in less than 30 minutes. On Wednesday, those groceries made their way to area schools where they will be given to thankful students.

Melissa says that more volunteers and donations are needed to keep the operation going. To donate, go to the 31 Backpacks Facebook page (click HERE) or send a check to 110 Century Way Suite C in Houghton.