By Sue Moore
The Friday Pack program in Schoolcraft was awarded a $2,000 grant from the Eagles Aerie 3531 on Shaver Road. The fraternal organization upped the grant from $1,000 in 2016, doubling support because it believes in the cause, said Jill Strake. She is president of Friday Pack, a nonprofit that operates out of the Eagles Nest next to the middle school in Schoolcraft.
It takes between $20,000 to $25,000 annually to provide food for weekends to children in need in Schoolcraft each year. It’s about $17,000 for just the contents of the packs that are delivered to dozens of elementary and middle school children each week during the school year. This is augmented by snacks and gift certificates for milk and eggs at local grocery stores. “Nobody knows the names of the families receiving the food,” Strake commented. “Harding’s shopping bags are placed in children’s lockers to minimize any type of stigma that accompanies getting free food.”
It’s an all-volunteer program with helpers coming into the Eagles Nest to pack any day of the week, once they have been trained. The packs are delivered to the buildings on Thursday during the 40 weeks of school. “We could always use more volunteers,” Strake said. “Megan Walsh does all the ordering and shopping at Sam’s Club and Harding’s Market in Schoolcraft. We also give coupons of $10 per child when school vacations are scheduled.”
“We have a great group of officers with lots of good ideas,” Strake said. They include: Alicia Abfall, treasurer; Walsh, vice president; Holly Nadrasik, secretary and trustees Sue Kuiper, Vikki Boos and Brenda Rochholz.