Backpack Buddies

Shaaray Tefila's Backpack Buddies Program

Many children depend on the free meals they receive at school during the week and often go hungry on the weekend because their families lack the resources to feed them.

Backpack Buddies is a nationwide program, endorsed by the Union for Reform Judaism, that aims to end childhood hunger one backpack at a time. Each Friday, Shaaray Tefila will provide backpacks filled with six meals and nutritious snacks for children, ages 5 - 11, to be distributed by the Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center.

This year, we will be feeding 25 children in need, up from 15. Thank you for your continued support in making this possible.

Shaaray Tefila has a long history of feeding the hungry including:

  • Our weekly soup kitchen
  • Sandwich Saturday
  • Regular donations to the New York Common Pantry
  • High Holy Day Food Drive

Childhood hunger is especially troubling. Good nutrition is essential to a growing child's physical and mental health. Hungry children have difficulty concentrating in school and fighting common illnesses. Food-insecure children develop a "fear of hunger" that impacts their behavior as much as physical hunger affects their bodies.

If you have any questions, please contact us at [email protected].

Why we need Backpack Buddies

According to City Harvest
  • In New York City, nearly one in four children lives in a home where there is not enough money to put food on the table
  • Many of these same households earn too much money to qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP - formerly known as food stamps).
According to a 2014 survey conducted by the New York City Coalition Against Hunger:
  • New York City is facing an increasing crisis of poverty and hunger
  • New York City's emergency food providers (food pantries, soup kitchens and brown-bag programs) have reported a 7% increase in the need for their services. 

What's in a Backpack

Backpack Buddies will provide each child with six nutritious meals and healthy snacks for the weekend including:
  • 4 containers of milk
  • 2 boxes of non-sugar cereal
  • 2 lunch proteins
  • 2 dinner proteins
  • 2 packets of vegetables
  • 2 packets of fruit
  • 2 snacks
  • other assorted items

Did you know?

The Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center is named in honor of Mr. Isaacs, an advocate for social justice. He served as Manhattan Borough President from 1938-1942. His grandfather was Samuel M. Isaacs - the first Rabbi of Shaaray Tefila.

How Do I Fill a Backpack?

It costs:

  • $18 to feed 1 child for 1 weekend

  • $36 to feed 1 child for 2 weekends

  • $72 to feed 1 child for 4 weekends

  • $800 to sponsor 1 child for 1 year

PLEASE NOTE: Direct your gift to this program by selecting Backpack Buddies from the "How would you like to allocate your gift?" dropdown menu in the form linked below.

Make a Gift to Fill a Backpack »