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Buddy Bags of Dixon hopes to expand for next year

Group hopes to serve 154 kids next school year

Published: Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT
(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
Volunteers at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Dixon put together 37 “Buddy Bags” for students at Washington School. The bags contain soup, cereal, snacks, drinks, and other lunch and breakfast staples.
(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
St. Paul Lutheran Church volunteers Barb Fane (left), Bev Pickering and Jane McCaslin lay out food that will be packed into bags for students at Washington School in DIxon.

DIXON – This is the third week Buddy Bags of Dixon will pack and distribute 37 bags to Dixon students so they have meals for the weekend.

The group’s goal, said committee member Gwen Weidman, is to distribute weekly bags to 154 kindergarten through eighth-grade students next year.

To do that, the group needs to raise enough money or donated food items, Weidman said, to fill the bags, which cost $5 each.

Twenty of the students involved with the pilot program are at Washington Elementary, she said, and the other 17 are siblings attending other schools. There are no high school students receiving bags, Weidman said.

The bags, distributed Friday, provide the students with enough food for two breakfasts, two lunches and two snacks. Buddy Bags is collecting nonperishable food and easy pop-top containers and has an increased need for shelf stable milk.

Proceeds from the Jan. 31 Dixon Quarter Mania, held at Dixon VFW Post 540 located at 1560 state Route 38, will go to Buddy Bags of Dixon.

Buddy Bags will hold another fundraiser in March, Weidman said, selling Butter Braid pastries and products.

According to the Illinois Report Card for the Dixon School District, 49 percent of students are considered low-income.

The Buddy Bags program works out of St. Paul Lutheran Church, 421 S. Peoria Ave. in Dixon, Weidman said, and has been helped by Grace United Methodist Church and Immanuel Lutheran Church’s youth group, among other organizations.

The group is actively seeking volunteers to help pack bags each Wednesday night.

For more information

Buddy Bags of Dixon meets at 7 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 421 S. Peoria Ave. in Dixon.

The bags are packed at 5 p.m. on Wednesdays at the church, and donations are collected from 6 to 7 p.m. on the first and second Wednesday of each month.

For more information or to donate, search "Buddy Bags of Dixon" on Facebook for call 815-541-2122.

Monetary donations can be made by send a check made out to "Buddy Bags of Dixon" to St. Paul Lutheran Church.

To have a representative from Buddy Bags speak about the group at a church or organization, call Jennifer LeMoine at 815-677-0497.

Items needed

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 snacks

– Small, 100-percent fruit cups

– Small pudding cups

– Apple sauce cups

– Raisin boxes 

– Small fruit snack packs 

– Animal crackers

– Goldfish crackers

– Granola bars

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