Weekend Backpack Program

Thank you for your interest and help in providing nutritious food to 348 food insecure children in our community. Who, without your donation, may not otherwise be eating throughout the weekend. Your generosity touches the lives of each individual child as well as their family.

Our Mission

The mission of the Weekend Backpack Program is to assist in combating food insecurity for children living in Springfield, Virginia, by providing a gallon-sized Ziploc bag filled with nutritious, shelf-stable foods.

How does a packing event work?
Packing events can be held at the church, in a home, or wherever you are able to spread out the supplies.
If your group hosts a packing event, we expect that you will provide the food for the Ziplocs you pack.

Where do you get the food?
We rely on in-kind donations from individuals, as well as packing groups who purchase their own food to pack. We complete the donations with food from the Capital Area Food Bank. Other churches also supply portions of our weekly need.

How much does it cost to pack one gallon-sized Ziploc?
It costs about $5 for each Ziploc.

How do you know the food is being eaten?
We take in faith that the food is eaten. We receive positive feedback from the school’s administration and thank you notes from children.

How are the children chosen to receive the weekly donations?
The school counselor/social worker selects children based on the Free/Reduced Lunch program list.

How long does it take to pack 348 Ziplocs?
Depending on how many packers you have, it can take as little as an hour, or as long as three hours.

What happens over extended holidays like Winter Break, Spring Break, and Summer?
We collect donations of Giant Grocery gift cards to distribute over school breaks.

How can I help?
Contact Brenda Weston at westonbs@aol.com.

How it Works:

One gallon Ziploc bag for each child

Doubled brown paper bags six Ziplocs go in each bag

Each Ziploc Bag is packed with:

2 Breakfasts (e.g., instant oatmeal, small individual serving cereal box, or protein-rich breakfast bars)

4 Proteins (provide two lunches and two dinners for a total of four proteins (e.g., a small can of soup, pouch of “Easy Mac”, Vienna sausages, can or pouch of tuna/salmon/chicken, individual microwave ravioli/beef-a-roni/spaghetti, or single serving peanut butter with pretzels to dip)

2 Fruits (e.g., individual fruit cups, applesauce, or dried fruit…raisins/craisins/cherries)

2 Long Shelf-Life Milk (Chocolate or White…not Vanilla flavored)

2 to 3 Snacks (e.g., pudding cups, fruit snacks, cheese or peanut butter crackers, pretzels, granola bars, or nuts)

How to Help


  • Money (checks can be made to Messiah UMC with WBP in the memo line)
  • Food (click here to see the current Shopping List)
  • Time


  • Join us at our monthly packing events (2nd Wednesday of the month starting at 5 pm)
  • Pack with your group at a place and time of your choosing
  • Pack with your group at Messiah church sign-up here


  • Take bags to a school on Thursday by 12 pm

Who We Serve

Deliveries are made each week to these schools on Thursday prior to 3:00 pm.

Crestwood Elementary School
CONTACT PERSON: Elizabeth DeVoll
6010 Hanover Avenue
Springfield, VA 22150
138 Gallon Sized Ziploc Bags

Garfield Elementary School
CONTACT PERSON: Janet Dougherty
Old Keene Mill Road
Springfield, VA 22150
78 Gallon Sized Ziploc Bags

Lynbrook Elementary School
5801 Backlick Road
Springfield, VA 22150
96 Gallon Sized Ziploc Bags

Cardinal Forest Elementary School
8600 Forrester Place
Springfield, VA 22152
36 Gallon Sized Ziploc Bags