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 has now extended the program to the multiple partners and mulitple school districts.

$6 provides 1 PowerPack to a hungry child.




During the 2015-2016, the percentage of children in Washington accessing the free and reduced lunch program through their school was 47 percent. Some districts, including those served by Power Pack, have rates as high as 74 percent.



and studies show that hunger deeply impacts a child's ability to learn and retain complicated tasks.

With the continually growing need, United Way secured a 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 over 4,000 students are being served throughout Pierce County.


Hold a food drive at your business, school or church

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

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.

Download our printable donor registration.

For more information on how you can help feed hungry kids, please contact Shawn Paton at shawnp@uwpc.org.