Dental staff helps fill backpacks for hungry children

EVANSTON — A child going to bed with hunger pains. We hear about such horrors in many third-world countries, but find it unimaginable in our hometown — yet, it happens every day. These are children who are working hard in school to make a better life for themselves but due to circumstances of life, their family lacks the resources to provide sufficient nutrition.

There are a lot of programs to help these families and one local program has been working to help feed these children. Community volunteers spend their time and money to ensure these children can focus on their lives and school by providing food through the Evanston Hungry Children Backpack Program. 

Throughout the year, volunteers gather funds and food and other volunteers help to pack the food so when a child goes home for the weekend, they have food to get them through. By partnering with schools, businesses and community, the backpack program, operating since 2014, is currently providing food for about 80 children in the community.

“Last year we were putting together almost twice as many backpacks,” said Susan Williams, a program organizer. “I’m not certain if the reason we are doing less this year is because the economy has improved of if many have moved away, but we can handle much more.”

“We can pack up to 165 each week,” said another program organizer, Kristina Ruiz. “People can check our web page at or go to our Facebook page to learn more. We are always looking for weekly volunteers and contributions are appreciated.”

Williams and Ruiz had a lot of welcome assistance the evening of Wednesday, Nov. 15, when the staff at Bear River Dental showed up to set up an assembly line to pack the food for children to take home.