How do Manna backpacks make you feel?

Actual responses from elementary age students that receive backpacks.

Food 4 Kids

Backpack Program

Your support of the Manna Food Project means more than a meal—it’s hope, strength, and a nourished community.

For the 2023-2024 school year, pre-k and elementary schools are asking for more backpacks than ever before. At our current delivery rate, Manna will give out over 63,000 backpacks this year, costing more than $300,000 for this program to keep up with the need.

Manna’s Food 4 Kids Backpack Program supplies backpacks of food to 30 organizations across our Antrim, Charlevoix, and Emmet Counties, including elementary schools, pre-k and head start programs, and public libraries. Backpacks include meals and snacks for over the weekend when kids aren’t getting meals at school. Manna strives to provide kid-friendly, nutritious food that is easy for pre-school and elementary age children to prepare on their own. This ready-to-eat food tends to come at a premium, but Manna is doing everything they can to keep the costs of this program as low as possible without compromising on nutrition.

Just $5 can feed a child for a weekend.

Together this Giving Tuesday, we can ensure that students have the fuel they need to be successful in school and flourish in life. Your donation of any size directly impacts the lives of young ones and 100% of your gift goes to purchasing food to keep this program running. Every dollar makes a big difference for the children in our communities.

On average, one in eight children in the United States are at risk of hunger. In some of our own communities, that number is much higher. At Charlevoix Elementary School, one in four kids are in need of the backpack program. For the East Jordan Elementary School, 53% of their students receive these weekend meals. In more rural school districts, all of the students are given backpacks to ensure no child goes hungry over the weekend.

Research shows that childhood hunger can impact a child’s physical and mental well-being, as well as their academic performance. Nutritionally, hunger can take a toll on children’s cognitive development, concentration, memory and motor skills. The constant stress and anxiety associated with hunger can lead to behavioral issues. And malnutrition can also lead to an onslaught of illnesses and other health problems.

During the early years, proper nutrition supports brain development, immune system function, and overall growth. This is why Manna makes it a priority to provide nutritional meals and snacks to keep young ones well-fed.

Giving Back!

As you dine and shop this holiday season, stop by these local businesses to help feed the hungry in our communities. Show some extra love on Giving Tuesday!

B.C. Pizza of Harbor Springs

Donating 20% of sales on Saturday, November 18.

930 S State St, Harbor Springs, MI 49740


Vernales Restaurant

Donating 1% of sales on Giving Tuesday, November 28.

3018 M-119, Harbor Springs, MI 49740


Fustini’s Oil & Vinegars – Petoskey

Donating 1% of sales all year long.

206 Howard St, Petoskey, MI 49770


Northern Michigan Sports Medicine Center

Hosting a food drive for the month of November.

8452 M-119, Harbor Springs, MI 49740


Yoga Roots and Healing Arts

Hosting a food drive through the end of December.

444 E Mitchell St #2624, Petoskey, MI 49770


Crooked Tree Arts Center

Hosting a food drive for the month of November.

461 E. Mitchell St, Petoskey, MI 49770


More ways to get involved!

4Front 10.10.23 Mobile Box Packing (4)

Backpack Assembly

Manna always needs volunteers to help assemble backpacks. You can do this as an individual or in a group. All ages are welcome!

Pond Hill Farm (2)

Backpack Delivery

Volunteer drivers deliver backpacks to area schools on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday mornings every other week by the truckload.


Backpack Foods

Help stock the backpacks! Manna is in need of kid-friendly food such as ravioli in an easy-open lid can, easy mac, and apple sauce pouches.

Fill out a volunteer application online.

To learn more about what you can do to help feed the children in our area, contact the Manna team at 231-347-8852.

Get involved, change lives.