Royal Oak Administration Building
800 DeVillen Ave.
Royal Oak, MI 48073
Wednesday at 3 pm
To volunteer: Email Us
Blessings in a Backpack-Royal Oak was formed in 2010 to address the needs of the children attending Royal Oak Schools. What had been a stable community saw the need rise for food assistance during the economic downturn of 2009. A group of concerned citizens along with school personnel stepped forward to begin the process. It was the goal of the steering committee to include all the eligible students at the Royal Oak Elementary Schools into the program.
The Steering Committee for the Royal Oak program has been very venturesome in hosting fundraisers to begin their program. They first event “Walk the Red Carpet for Royal Oak Students raised $10,000. In the spring of 2011, each of the schools hosted different events from carnation sales, bagel sales, penny wars, and sales of Have a Heart…Feed a Child cards. During the Labor Day weekend, the committee manned a booth at the annual Arts, Beets and Eats Event to raise funds to support their program and to bring awareness of childhood hunger to the Royal Oak community.
ROYAL OAK BEGINS PACKING JANUARY 2012
The first backpacks went home on January 6, 2012, to children at all the six elementary schools within the Royal Oak School District.
The first week a young boy, after receiving his backpack, came up to his principal and said “Look what I got, a backpack full of food. Someone cares about me.” Feeding a child is a simple thing that can be taken for granted. But, for the families served by Blessings in a Backpack, a year’s backpacks of food can be life changing. This is why all of us give of our time and energy to this important program.
The Blessings in a Backpack-Royal Oak program has come a long way since 2012. The first chairperson, Marcie Dryer, stepped down and Shelley Lake picked up the reins. Her team has done an exceptional job of maintaining and growing the program. All the schools within the Royal Oak System now participate in the program. The major event to fund the program is a Trivia Night held in the spring. Unfortunately, in 2020, the event had to be postponed and later cancelled because of the Pandemic. Look for this event again in the fall of 2022.
BIAB Royal Oak has been packing continually for school deliveries since September 2022. Our inventory stored in Door #10 of the School Administration building has provided us with the perfect space to keep our food and do bag packing. In March 2022, we moved temporarily to the stage at Churchill School. This was quite a challenge for our volunteers who were accustomed to much more space to pack. In addition, we had just unpacked food collected at a Food Drive hosted by the Royal Oak’s Women’s Club. With the additional food and our normal order, our volunteers were picked up by music provided by the Superintendent of Schools. They danced while packing which was fun. We’ll be back at Door #10 starting in April 2022.
We welcome donations to our program. We also have an Amazon Gift List available. If you would like to get involved as a volunteer or member of the steering committee and make a difference in a child’s life, please contact us.
Royal Oak Trivia Night
Trivia Night will return on April 12, 2024. Join us at Royal Oak Elks for Trivia Night to support Blessings in a Backpack-Royal Oak. The doors open at 6:00 pm and the evening starts with lite dinner of small plates. The Trivia game will commence at 7 pm and will consist of multiple rounds. There will be a cash prize for the winning team. In addition, a Silent Auction and a 50/50 raffle will be held. Gather your friends, co-workers, family, and/or neighbors and form a team of 10. If you do not have a team of 10, no worry, we will pair you with others who want to have fun filled evening and support Blessings in a Backpack-Royal Oak.
As the Blessings In A Backpack-Royal Oak program celebrates it’s 10th year of packing, we’d like to also celebrate a volunteer who is retiring from our Steering Committee, EDIE SAUNDERS.
Edie has volunteered with Blessing since 2012 as a volunteer packer. She has seen the ups and downs and the various locations where we’ve packed over the years. She came to our Steering Committee four years ago and helped us coordinate our first trivia fundraiser. She was also the second in command for packing activities knowing all the ins and outs of packing and was a great problem solver. Edie also thanked all the Amazon Wish List participants. Edie would always include her grandchildren in our packing activities, from high schoolers to elementary school students. She prepared the thank you bookmarks we gave each girl/cub scout volunteer and was always there to take a group photo of the packing group.
We will MISS Edie and thank her for volunteering with Blessings. I know it made a difference in her life.
Entech Staffing Services – A valuable partner to Blessings In A Backpack-Royal Oak
Entech Staffing Services in Troy, Michigan has been a wonderful partner to our program for the past year and a half. Entech is a women owned business and is always on the lookout for programs that benefit women and children. Our program fit their criteria and we are happy to have met their staff. They provide volunteer staff when we pack and on-call assistance when we are down on number of volunteer packers. Knowing that we now have to pay for bags to pack the Blessings Bags, they have saved and brough us bags. They have done a food drive and will be doing so again as they host an event, a Women’s Business Forum Mixer on August 23, 2023 along with the Troy Chamber of Commerce.
Emma Gougeon is the coordinator of volunteers from Entech and is a wonderful supporter of our Blessings program in Royal Oak. She is also the sponsor for Shelley Lake of Blessings in a Backpack – Royal Oak to the Troy Chamber of Commerce.