Everett and Laurel Gebhardt, Senior Director of Programs and Operations, began delivering groceries to student homes for children and their families.
Since then, the program has grown and now serves about 600 people a week. The number could come as a shock to Douglas County residents, Everett said.
“We know that children who are particularly dependent on school meals, especially on weekends and during school breaks, need that help and need feeding assistance,” Everett said. .
A study published in the Denver Business Journal Ranks Douglas County among the top 10 wealthiest counties all over the country. Due to the region’s immense wealth, Everett said many of the families her organization serves are afraid to ask for help because of the stigma of needing help. .
“People don’t realize there’s a need. I think it’s often overlooked because of where these kids are,” Everett said. It’s hard, especially in our community, people are very hesitant.”
The stigma may have been difficult at first, but Backpack Society recipients said the program brought immense help when they needed it.
Award winner Cecilia Zamudio said, “We love volunteers, empowerment and non-judgmental people. I don’t think it’s a handout, I just put my hand up.”
The organization does not require any information from participants before assisting them, but asks that families receive donations only if they have school-aged children.
“We see families who have been using us for probably a few months, but we haven’t heard from them since,” Everett said. “Gave”
Brian Willie is the content production manager for Rocky Mountain PBS.you can contact him [email protected].
Alison Berg is a multimedia journalist for Rocky Mountain PBS.you can contact her [email protected].