Volunteers in Chisholm are helping keep kids from going hungry this school year.
Volunteers for the United Way spent about an hour and a half packing up "Buddy Backpacks" for food-insecure children on the Iron Range. The meal kits are filled with non-perishable, child-friendly food.
The bags are sent to area schools, where they are distributed to children to take home with them over the weekend.
"They come to school nourished. They come with full tummies. They are not having stomach cramps and dizziness," says Elizabeth Kelly, of the United Way. "They are able to focus on their school work because they're getting enough to eat over the weekend, which is making a huge impact."
There were about 60 volunteers packing buddy-backpacks Thursday, helping put together 1,600 meal kits in all.
The need for this program has seen a dramatic increase in the past year, say officials. Backpack Buddies now serves 80 more children than this time last year.