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Buddy Bags aims to help feed students over weekend

Pilot program set to begin in January

DIXON – A pilot program carried out by local churches set to begin next month could send Dixon students home with food each Friday.

The idea for Buddy Bags originated in Princeton, Dixon program organizer Janet Wittenmyer said. Locally, about six churches are working to collect food, equivalent to about $25 a month per student, Wittenmyer said. The group is collecting nonperishable food and easy pop-top containers.

When the Dixon program gets started, its goal will be to send enough food home each Friday for two breakfasts, two lunches and two snacks, Wittenmyer said. Students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches through school will also be eligible for the Buddy Bags program, she said.

Buddy Bags of Dixon will start with 37 students at Washington Elementary whom the school has identified, Wittenmyer said.

The program will expand to more students and more schools as its capability grows.

At the beginning of the program, students at other Dixon schools can still participate if they have a sibling at Washington, Wittenmyer said.

According to the Illinois Report Card for the Dixon School District, 49 percent of students are considered low-income. The vast majority of those students are considered low-income because they’re eligible for the lunch program, Superintendent Michael Juenger told Sauk Valley Media this month.

Get Involved

Buddy Bags of Dixon meets today at 7 p.m., at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 421 S. Peoria Ave. in Dixon.

For more information or to donate, go to or call 815-288-2757.

What to donate

Buddy Bags of Dixon is collecting small, pop-top easy open containers, in addition to non-perishable food. Among the recommended items are the following:

– Chicken or beef noodle soup

– Beef stew cups

– Mac and cheese cups

– Cereal boxes

– Oatmeal pouches

– Breakfast bars and snakes

– Small, 100 percent fruit cups

– Small pudding cups

– Apple sauce cups

– Raisin boxes 

– Small fruit snack packs 

– Animal crackers

– Gold fish crackers

– Granola bars

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