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Bethlehem School District joining Backpack Pals

Published On: Feb 05 2014 04:11:53 PM EST

Bethlehem Area School District is joining a Backpack Pals program that collects  non-perishable foods for needy children in the district.

The food is distributed in backpacks to those children during long school holiday weekends, to provide easy-to-serve, nutritious breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks.

The first distribution date for Bethlehem students will be over their spring break.


Items for the Backpack Pals-Bethlehem program now can be dropped off at the following locations:

*  6-8 p.m. Tuesdays or Thursdays in marked bin at Fuentes Martial Arts, Willow Park Rd., Bethlehem Twp,;

* 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, 521 E. Locust St., Bethlehem (items must be marked for Backpack Pals);

*Items can be placed in boxes on the porch at 3545 Coleman St., Bethlehem Twp.

Only non-perishable items are collected  and they should be in plastic containers, not glass. Backpack Pals organizers also ask that donated food be the healthiest possible options.

Some suggestions:

• Non-refrigerated milk packs, any kind, regular or alternative; 6 or 8 pack (individuals)

• Cereal bowls or boxes, individual size

• Fruit cups or applesauce, no sugar added, 4 or 6 pack

• Ravioli/canned pastas, pop top, single serving

• Soup, pop top, single serving or small can

• Macaroni and cheese, individual pop tops or individual pouches

• Jelly or jam, no homemade please, squeeze jar is good

• Peanut butter, small jar

• Crackers, saltine or Ritz-type

• Non-refrigerated juice pack, all juice, no sugar added; 6 or 8 pack (individuals)

• Protein/cereal/granola bars; box of 6 or 8, high protein, high fiber

• Raisins; 6 pack of small boxes or 1 regular size box

• Personal hygiene items such as individual packed new toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc.

Backpack Pals is a partnership program. In Bethlehem that partnership includes Sodexo, the district's food service provider, St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church and the founders of the Backpack Pals-Bethlehem program.

For information about  Backpack Pals-Bethlehem, contact founder Nikki Testa at 610-704-5262 or

Bethlehem's program is an expansion of the Easton Backpack Pals program.

In Easton, the program partners with St. Paul’s Lutheran Food Pantry, Family Connection (Easton Area School District) and Sodexo, food service provider for Easton Area School District,  to collect donations of the food for the backpacks.

For more information on  Backpack Pals-Easton, contact founder Nancy Walters at or at 610-253-0726,.

Backpack Pals is a program of the Peanut Butter Project, which was founded in 2012 as a response to a high need for peanut butter at local food pantries.

Peanut Butter Project works to improve individual and group donations of priority staples to food pantries and works to coordinate the Backpack Pals program with partnering groups and individual donors.