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To feed more children in your community.



Our Goal: Ending Childhood Hunger

Food insecurity is a serious community issue.  In Schenectady County, there are an estimated 5,000 elementary school children living with food insecurity -- which simply means that household resources are insufficient to provide consistent access to food.  Many children lack access to food over the weekend. As a result, malnutrition and insecurity impacts school performance. This is not only true in urban areas, but is of increasing concern in surrounding suburbs and rural communities.

As a response to the overwhelming number of hungry children in the community, the Weekend Backpack Partnership was launched in 2014. The program addresses hunger and nutrition needs of elementary school children in Schenectady County by providing a reliable source of nutritious food for children to take home with them after school each Friday during the school year.  Working with our capable partners, the City Mission and the Regional Food Bank, we've helped more than 5,000 students and their families to-date.

In 2017, based on requests from other school districts, the Partnership expanded its services to children in Duanesburg, Mohonasen, Schalmont, and Scotia-Glenville (Niskayuna does not currently participate). We are now reaching more than 1200 children and families throughout Schenectady County. 

  PROGRAM FACTS 2018 - 2019

  • <$6.00 per child per week
  • 1,248 children served
  • 29000 lbs. of fresh produce distributed
  • 36,680 weekend bags delivered to students 
  • 4087 volunteer hours logged
  • 5050 students served since program started in 2014




  • Stewart’s card for a gallon of milk or a dozen eggs.
  • Fresh fruit
  • Bread
  • Canned veggies & fruit
  • Healthy entrée
  • Snacks
  • Breakfast items
*contents may vary depending on availability and expense of products.


Teachers describe the impact of food insecurity on their students:  waning attention, lack of energy, absenteeism and anxiety leading to acting out in class.  It can exact a devastating toll on a student's readiness to learn.  Teachers and school staff also tell us that they see the difference in students that can rely on the weekend backpack.  Students behavior and academic performance can often improve or be maintained.  Students are healthier and more likely to return on Monday morning ready to learn!

The Weekend Backpack Partnership is making great progress, but there is still more work to be done. The need is growing in neighboring communities throughout Schenectady County. Based on data collected by the NYS Education Department, there are more than 5,000 children in Schenectady County schools who qualify for free or reduced-cost school meals. We believe that many of these children are likely to suffer from food insecurity.  Despite the Partnership's marked increase in children served, with current resources we are reaching only 22% of kids in need.

Our Community Partners

The unique capabilities of each of the organizations in the Partnership have enabled us to reach more children, more effectively, and with greater impact.

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Donations of Time, Talent and Treasure are Needed Today!

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You can make all the difference to children and families by donating to the cause, and volunteering your time.  All gifts are welcomed and appreciated.  Only $6 per week supports a child in our community for the school year.

Volunteers are also needed at the City Mission to help fill backpacks every week. Opportunities to volunteer on an individual or group basis are available. 

City Mission of Schenectady is now utilizing a volunteer website. If you're interested, please visit their website and click “Get Started” under “Service Opportunities” for available dates to “Pack Backpacks" You can sign up there! 

For more information on how to become a volunteer for the Weekend Backpack Program, contact or call 346-2275, ext. 311.

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To help reach more children in your community this year, please make your tax-deductible contribution.

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Your company, congregation or community group can help by sponsoring children, and providing them with access to healthy food for the entire school year.

As an Organization or Corporate Sponsor, You Will Receive:

  • Recognition of your company or organization logo on The Schenectady Foundation website as a Weekend Backpack Sponsor
  • Honorable mention of your company on all press related materials, as well as on our social media outlets.
  • The option for your employees to volunteer to pack bags for the Weekend Backpack Program through City Mission of Schenectady's Distribution Center.
For questions regarding corporate sponsorships, please contact Nicole Pagano at The Schenectady Foundation: (518) 393-9500 or



A special thanks to our founding corporate sponsors for their 5 years of consistent support!

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