Ministry Saint Clare's Awards $50,000 to Blessings in a Backpack

Ministry Saint Clare’s Hospital in Weston is pleased to announce the selection of Blessings in a Backpack of DC Everest and Wausau as the facilities first Community Benefit Partner Organization.

As the result of this partnership, Ministry Saint Clare’s will provide $50,000 in funding over the next three years and additional Associate support for the project which provides weekend nourishment to local school children on the Federal Free and Reduced Meal Program. 

“This effort is a true partnership that provides much needed support to area children and families and is very deserving to be selected as our first Community Benefit Partner Project,” said Antonina Olszewski, Ministry Saint Clare’s Foundation Director who oversees the facilities community benefit partner program.

Up to 77-percent of elementary-age students in the Wausau and DC Everest School Districts qualify for Federal Free and Reduced Lunch and school officials say unmet nutritional needs make it difficult for children to learn, pay attention in class and behave properly to retain knowledge.

The Backpack Food items which are reviewed by a nutritionist to ensure appropriateness include two breakfast items, two snacks and two lunches of easy to prepare food items such as oatmeal, granola bars and macaroni and cheese.

After an initial pilot project of 50 to 75 families at Weston Elementary School, Blessings in a Backpack of DC Everest and Wausau has expanded to serve more than 300 children at six area schools.

“We are grateful to Ministry Saint Clare’s and their Associates for this tremendous support,” said Margaret P’ng, Blessings in a Backpack Steering Committee Member. “This level of financial support and Associate time and talent will allow us to pursue many options to efficiently expand our program to additional schools in our community.”

Ministry Health Care organizations have a rich tradition of responding to community need. Some of the programs include:  outreach to persons living in poverty or who for other reasons face challenges accessing health care, subsidized services needed by the community, prevention programs, and services or activities that are not specifically health care related but benefit the general well-being of the community. As part of its Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) process, Ministry facilities throughout the system have engaged community organizations and developed partnerships to respond to identified community health needs. 

“Our CHNA process clearly identified the development of infants and young children as a priority health need and this partnership will touch both of those areas by putting appropriate food items in the hands of families in need,”  Olszewski said.

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