31 Backpacks looking for volunteers

HANCOCK — With spring break quickly approaching, a Keweenaw Peninsula charity is doing it’s part to keep students fed during the upcoming vacation, and is seeking volunteers for it’s semi annual distribution event, to be held this weekend.

For public schools in the area, spring break begins next weekend and while some students will be traveling with their families to a favorite destination, many students in the Copper Country don’t have that luxury. In fact for a local non profit organization, the break from school presents a different concern all together.

Each Year, just before Christmas vacation, and again before spring break, co-founders of 31 Backpacks Laurel and Melissa Maki, get with the local food bank and area food distributors to give area students a boost in nutrition during a time that they would normally be malnourished.

“We get most of it from the food bank because we have buying power there,” said Melissa Maki.

Prior to the students being released from school, these grocery bags will be delivered, ensuring that the children will be cared for during the time off.

Volunteers are needed toward the end of the week, over the weekend, and the early part of next week at Glad Tidings Church in Hancock.

“We want anybody who wants to come out to please come out,” said Maki. “The more, the merrier. We’re not going to turn anybody down, we have something for everyone to do regardless, of your physical capabilities.”

Duties include unloading a couple of delivery trucks, and categorizing items.

“Set up those tables, put all of the products out, take them out of the wrappings so they are ready to go,” Maki said.

Other tasks include filling the bags of food with proper rations, before school buses come to pick up the packages on Tuesday morning.

“Monday night is the actual big pack. We’d like you to be here at 5:45 at the latest. We’ll be underway at 6:00.”

To become a volunteer or to find out more you can contact the non profit organization at (906) 231-1472.

“This weekend is really really important for us and it goes very smoothly,” said Maki. “It’s really enjoyable, you’ll be pretty amazed at how well this is all put together. And furthermore your donations are really important to us this year. After the Father’s day flood our funding has been down, understandably, so we are trying to restock our pantry not only for spring break, but for our regular deliveries we do every week.”