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Power Pack


One in four children in Pierce County is hungry. A school cafeteria may be the only way some children receive nutritious food every day. In 2013, United Way of Pierce County joined forces with St. Leo's Food Connection to help extend the reach of their Backpack Program and tackle the issue of child hunger. The Power Pack program provides backpacks filled with nutritious foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, to children in the free and reduced lunch program. The children receive the backpacks on Fridays filled with six kid-friendly meals to bridge the gap on the weekends. The program originally served kids in the Tacoma School District but United Way is helping extend the program to the Clover Park School District.

With the continually growing need, United Way secured a $12,000 grant from Bank of America to help sustain the effort and will also provide additional resources in the form of volunteers to help collect and build the backpacks and the coordination of food drives at local businesses. Initially, the program was set to serve 470 students during the 2012-2013 school year. Thanks to this collaborative effort 590 students are being served and three elementary schools in the Clover Park district were added to the program.

In addition, United Way is also connecting Ready, Set, Go! 5210 to the project. 5210 will help educate families in the Power Pack program on the importance of healthy eating.




K-12 Free & Reduced Lunch Data

In 2012, the percentage of children accessing the free and reduced lunch program through their school hit a record high of 47 percent. Some districts, including those served by Power Pack, have rates as high as 72 percent. READ MORE

Food Items Needed

Individual Oatmeal Packets
Shelf-Stable Milk
Microwaveable Soup with Vegatables or Dinner Meals such as Ravioli
Tuna/Chicken Meal Kits
Granola Bars
Individual Boxes of Raisins (or other dried fruit)
Individual Bags of Nuts or Trail Mix
Packages of Granola

Gallon Ziploc Bags


Download a poster to promote your food drive or volunteer event!

Find a summer meal site near you.


How You Can Help

Or donate by check and mail to United Way of Pierce County, 1501 Pacific Ave, Suite 400, Tacoma WA 98402

Hold a food drive at your business, school or church (See list at right)
Volunteer to bag food and build backpacks
Set aside one day a month at your company to bag food - We'll bring the food to you and you can do it on site.
Donate key food items (See list at right)
Make a cash donation to help buy food
Volunteer to deliver backpacks to schools
Volunteer during the summer to make sandwiches and keep these kids fed when school is out of session.
Participate in the Gleaning Program to provide unwanted fruit from your fruit trees to the cause