Minnesota Hospital Association


January 23, 2018

Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato works to address local hunger by supporting BackPack Food Program

More than 900 Mankato-area students receive weekend food packs through the BackPack Food Program to reduce hunger and ensure they’re ready to learn when they get back to school. Mayo Clinic Health System has been partnering with the program for the past three years, donating time and dollars to support this important initiative.   

“We are incredibly grateful for the ongoing commitment of Mayo Clinic Health System,” said Sheri Sander-Silva, executive director of Feeding Our Communities Partners. “It's rare and wonderful to find a partner that is willing to offer support on so many levels. Mayo Clinic Health System employees volunteer for monthly food packing sessions and have adopted a school as a weekly distribution team. They also provide financial contributions that allow for the purchase of nutritional food items. Each component is integral to the success of the BackPack Food Program and our ability to feed hungry tummies.”   

Mayo Clinic Health System has been the primary financial contributor to the Winter Feed & Read program by providing $5,000 to purchase perishable food items for the long holiday break. This is a special winter break pack to get kids through the long holiday break and includes healthy perishable items like milk, bread and cheese sticks. Mayo Clinic Health System employee volunteers spend two days at BackPack Central giving out these winter break packs to families on the program.   

In addition, Mayo Clinic Health System has ongoing monthly volunteer opportunities with the program. The organization has adopted Washington Elementary School, which means each week when the food packs are delivered, volunteers from Mayo Clinic Health System head to Washington Elementary to distribute the food packs to the children’s classrooms. There are also 10 volunteers each month who help to pack the food packs and get them ready for distribution.    

Overall, around 80 individuals from Mayo Clinic Health System volunteer their time to the BackPack Food Program on an annual basis.