Meet the volunteers who help “Fill the Backpack”

WEST SENECA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Our campaign to “Fill the Backpack” has entered its final week. We only ask for your donations during this brief period during the summer. But your generosity extends throughout the entire school year, ensuring students have the healthy meals they need on weekends.

Volunteers keep the program running like clockwork. Recently, News 4 witnessed a dedicated group of retirees from West Seneca Teachers Association in action. They meet monthly and transform the cafeteria of Winchester Elementary into their distribution facility.

“This gives us something to do, and you feel like this is productive. It’s a great cause. And we see our efforts. Every week the kids go home with a backpack. It’s awesome,” former teacher Janet Gostomski said.

Liz Dolce explained their system. “…We get the bags ready, and we break into groups. We do it approximately once a month, and we pack food for three weeks. Three weeks worth of food that we put into the cupboards.

The volunteers make sure your Fill the Backpack donation get into the right hands. The program’s shelves are running empty at the end of the school year. Kids are counting on you re-stocking so they have food this fall.

“We feel like we’re giving back to the community that we all taught in, which makes it extra special,” Dolce said.

The project proves teachers never stop caring about kids.

UPDATE: WNY shoppers have already donated more than 113,000 pounds of food as part of the campaign. You can donate through Sunday, June 18th at your neighborhood Wegmans store. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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