Weekend Backpacks Hosts October Fundraiser in Mount Washington

(Choreograph Getty Images)

Since March 2015, Weekend Backpacks for Homeless Kids (WBHK) has provided backpacks filled with meals for low-income children in Baltimore City during days off from school, when children don’t have access to free breakfasts and lunches.

The program started with just 18 backpacks that were filled on executive director/founder Sandie Nagel’s dining  room table. But it quickly expanded, moving to a  vocational school in Mount Washington for more space.

Now it’s in its third location — a new packing facility at 1505 Bedford Ave. in Pikesville, where bags are packed every Thursday between 9:30 and 11 a.m. In the 2017-2018 school year, more than 11,000 backpacks were delivered to children in need.

On Oct. 8, WBHK will hold a fundraiser at The Dye House in Mount Washington, with food from local restaurants and  caterers such as Linwoods, Saval Foods, Tio Pepe, Wicked Sisters, Simply Elegant Caterers, Zeffert & Gold Catering, Royal Farms and California Pizza Kitchen.

“This is the primary single  event fundraiser, where a good percentage of our funds come in,” said WBHK vice president Leslie Monfred, 57, adding that the organization also makes ends meet with  donations from individuals and corporations throughout the year, as well as through funding from grants.

Each bag is filled with a quart of milk and a 15-ounce bag of cereal, as well as nonperishible items like canned foods or pasta.

“When I developed the philosophy, I realized that no child lives in isolation, so I wanted every bag to feed three to four people,” said Nagel, 81. But the amount of food does vary as WBHK factors in considerations such as when food  vouchers run low or when schools are closed for several days.

“If you look at the weekend of the election coming up, the schools are closed four days,” said Nagel. “That is over 120 hours between the time children leave school until they come back Wednesday morning when they’ll have  breakfast.”

For those interested in helping WBHK, Monfred says there are numerous ways to help,  including the packing of bags at the Pikesville facility.

“We also have a need for people to actually drive the backpacks and deliver them to schools. We have the need for people to do paperwork,” said Monfred. “We can always use help on the number of different functions that it takes for an  organization to run.”

While reservations are still available for the October fundraiser as of press time,  Monfred notes that the event did sell out last year.“We  expect that it will sell out again this year,” she said.

Tickets can be purchased at weekendbackpacks.org/2018-fundraiser.


Never miss a story.
Sign up for our newsletter.
Email Address


  1. Connor,

    What a fabulous article….. and our emails and responses are off the charts.

    I appreciate you taking the time and effort to write this amazing piece. Feel good that you are helping us feed those HUNGRY HOMELESS KIDS
    in Baltimore City Schools.

    As a former teacher, I relate this quote, “hungry children cannot learn”.

    Again, thank you for all your hard work that is paying off for us.

    Sandie Nagel


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here