Glad Tidings-Hancock

HANCOCK – Neighbors helping neighbors is way of life in the Upper Peninsula, especially in the Copper County. It’s with that spirit that volunteers will start getting everything ready for 31 Backpacks big spring pack. Each week 31 Backpacks provides free meals to students in Houghton, Keweenaw and Baraga counties. And when schools go on breaks, the organization goes the extra mile to get additional food in the hands of students. They also provide a gift card to a local grocer.

“Well, I think people think of this as, it is their friends, this is their neighbors, this is people they know. Whether you know their circumstances or not, you probably know someone who is in our program. What we send home weekly for the kids, are usually individual types of servings. What we are sending home right now is more family oriented. So that they can prepare some meals together. And it’s larger items, not necessarily something that needs to fit inside a backpack.” – Melissa Maki, Vice President of 31 Backpacks

31 Backpacks is packing up over 700 bags and boxes of food for students and their families over spring break. With over 10 years of experience, Maki says, that each year things get more and more efficient. Now they pack up all the food in just under an hour.

“You know, being able to do something that stays locally is really important to a lot of people, rather than sending food to someone that you don’t know, in a foreign country. This is hyper-local for us. And it’s well organized, The pack that we do here, we are in our 10 year. So we’ve worked out a lot of the kinks. It goes very smoothly. And its a great way to invest an hour or two f your time into your local community.” – Melissa Maki, Vice President of 31 Backpacks

Volunteers who want to help with the big spring pack are asked to be at Glad Tidings Church a few minutes before 6 pm on Monday.  The organization will also need help Tuesday morning at 7:45 am to move the packed food from the church to buses.  Those buses will then deliver to each school. 31 Backpacks would also appreciate monetary donations to continue funding the program.

It takes around $25,000 to fund both the Winter break and Spring break packs for 31 Backpacks. If you would like to donate money for the organization to continue their work. Please mail checks to 1100 Century Way, Suite C, Houghton, MI, 49931. Please make checks out to 31 Backpacks. If you are more interested in making a donation electronically, 31 Backpacks has a Paypal account set up just for that. The email address associated with the organization’s Paypal, is

Melissa Maki would also like to emphasize getting to Glad Tidings before 6pm on Monday. Their biggest need for volunteers will be Tuesday morning, to help fill up buses.