Rozzi announces $25K grant to help address food insecurity among elementary school students

MUHLENBERG TWP., Jan. 6 – State Rep. Mark Rozzi today announced that Helping Harvest food bank has been awarded a $25,000 grant to benefit Muhlenberg Elementary Center’s Weekender Backpack Program.

This program provides low-income elementary school students with weekly bags filled with enough non-perishable foods for meals and snacks to last a weekend or the duration of a holiday break. This grant will help fund the costs of food, personnel and transportation.

“Countless children depend on their school cafeteria to ensure they eat that day. Food insecurity is a problem not unique to our area, but the COVID-19 pandemic really brought this issue to light and it’s rewarding to see our community stepping up to address it,” Rozzi said. “Every child deserves access to nutritious food regardless of their family’s economic status, and I’m proud to see Muhlenberg’s Weekender Backpack Program bring this ideal to life.”

Funding for this grant comes from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. The grant was awarded to Helping Harvest, who will supply non-perishable food items to the backpack program.

“Helping Harvest is extremely grateful for the efforts of Representative Mark Rozzi in securing this state grant to help us launch our newest Weekender Program site at Muhlenberg Elementary Center,” Helping Harvest President Jay Worrall said. “Because of this funding, as many as 400 at-risk elementary school students at the school are going home each Friday with a bag full of nourishing foods to help sustain them through the weekend so they can return to school on Monday feeling healthy, energized and ready to learn.”

“I would like to take a moment and thank Representative Rozzi for his commitment and care for the children not only in his district but across the commonwealth as well. This particular grant program is very special as it provides some of our most needy children with essentials that are so much a part of their normal day,” said Joseph Macharola, superintendent of Muhlenberg School District. “The backpack program also is truly a humanistic opportunity to give our children a needed boost to their day. As we continue to navigate this pandemic and the stresses COVID has placed on school systems, communities and families, it is truly heartfelt to know that Representative Rozzi is still working diligently to help our children succeed in life.”