Gearing Kids up for School with Backpack Buddies

Milwaukee, Wis. – Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin and Sendik’s Food Markets are launching their Ninth Annual Backpack Buddies program on Monday, August 5. The program provides kindergarten through third-grade children in need with a backpack full of school supplies with the goal of helping kids get excited about school.

The program seeks to break the cycle of poverty by encouraging a good education while children are young. “If kids are more excited about staying in school now, they will be less likely to need the assistance of a food bank in the future,” said Bonnie Bellehumeur, president of Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin. Every year 105,000 children in eastern Wisconsin rely on the food bank. Many of the families who rely on food from the food bank also struggle to provide essential school supplies for their children. Backpack Buddies gives children access to quality school supplies and helps prepare them to succeed.

Backpack Buddies are available at Balistreri Owned and Operated Sendik’s stores August 5 through September 3. Proceeds will go towards purchasing backpacks filled with supplies including notebooks, folders, paper, markers, crayons, pens and more. “The customer support for the Backpack Buddies program is amazing,” said family co-owner Ted Balistreri. “It’s impossible not to smile when you see how much children enjoy them, especially when you know all of the profits support such a great cause. We’re excited to again support the program and help out our friends and neighbors in the community.”

Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin and Sendik’s Food Markets have distributed nearly 6,000 backpacks since 2008.


330,000 people in Wisconsin rely on food supplied by Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin. The food bank is the largest, private, nonprofit distributor of food in the state. Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin distributes more than 20 million pounds of food annually to 1,000 food pantries, meal programs and shelters throughout the state. Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin is affiliated with Feeding America, which is consistently ranked as one of the most efficient charities, out of the country’s 100 largest charities, by Forbes magazine. Since 1982, Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin has distributed more than 300 million pounds of food. To learn more about hunger in Wisconsin, log onto

About Sendik’s Food Markets: Since 1926, the Balistreri family has been serving the greater Milwaukee community by combining quality food products with exceptional customer service. Their goal is to provide you with the best grocery shopping experience, period. Currently, Sendik’s Food Markets operates 10 stores throughout Southeastern Wisconsin: Whitefish Bay, Wauwatosa, Mequon, Grafton, Elm Grove, Franklin, Greenfield, Germantown, New Berlin, and West Bend.

General, News | August 5th, 2013