DuBOIS, Pa. – During the month of November, the human development and family studies (HDFS) and occupational therapy (OT) clubs at Penn State DuBois worked together to collect non-perishable food items to donate to the Backpack Program at the Jefferson County-DuBois Area Vocational-Technical School (Jeff Tech). The collection efforts by club members, and the campus community, culminated in December with a donation of numerous items.
“The Backpack Program supplies students and their families with various food items and snacks,” said Emi Brown, social worker at Jeff Tech. “Any student enrolled at Jeff Tech is eligible to receive weekly food bags through this program. Some food is purchased from local grocery stores and discount stores, but donated items are also accepted, such as the items we received from the collection at Penn State DuBois.”
The program, now in its seventh year, is currently supplying food to more than 20 families. Brown noted that the number of families involved has nearly tripled in the last year.
During the holiday season, the program gives families the supplies they need for a traditional holiday dinner, including stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetables, fruits, cranberry sauce and other items. This year for Thanksgiving, through a generous donation, the program was even able to give families a turkey for their Thanksgiving meal.
Brown, a 2017 alumna of the HDFS program and whose mother is an instructor in the occupational therapy assistance program at Penn State DuBois, reached out to campus connections to explore the idea of a food drive on campus as a service project for the HDFS and OT clubs. Both clubs previously participated in a care package drive in 2016.
“This donation from the clubs and Penn State DuBois campus will greatly help supply families with meals leading up to Christmas,” Brown said. “We hope to continue working with the HDFS and OT clubs, as well as the entire campus, in the future!”