Our funding is 100% donations and grants. We are able to serve the children in the program through the generosity of the public, community merchants, the town of Kiawah, KICA, private organizations and our wonderful volunteers. Please join our foundation and help us combat child hunger on the barrier islands.
The mission of Backpack Buddies is to proactively combat childhood hunger in “at-risk” children without calling undue attention to them in school. Each Thursday during the school year, Kiawah Women’s Foundation volunteers gather at our packing center to prepare backpacks filled with healthful, shelf-stable foods that the children can prepare on their own. The volunteers deliver the backpacks to Angel Oak Elementary School and Haut Gap Middle School on John’s Island, and Frierson Elementary School on Wadmalaw Island. These packs are slipped into the child’s backpack, and sent home with the child on Friday to sustain them over the weekend. At the end of the school year, a “large bag” program provides each student with food to start the summer vacation. The program currently serves 360 “at-risk” students each week during the school year. It also provide a twice weekly supplemental fruit program to 125 students at Frierson Elementary.
Holiday Teen Project
Kiawah Women’s Foundation has been providing holiday gifts for teens on John’s and Wadmalaw Islands since 2015, when Nicole Cook, the CIS worker at John’s Island High School, came to Ann Knechtel and reported that high school students were being excluded from holiday giving programs. Underprivileged children are traditionally focused upon during the holiday season with Toys for Tots, the Salvation Army drive and various church fundraisers. These programs focus on infants to elementary school children. Teenagers are often forgotten. Our program concentrates on providing the most needy John’s Island middle and high-school children with necessities and a few luxuries on Christmas morning.
The community-in-schools social workers identify the students. Each student receives a large gift bag filled with clothing, toiletries, gift cards, and a few fun gifts such as ear buds, footballs, costume jewelry, etc. KWF volunteers wrap all of the gifts. A bag of Christmas candy provided by the Kiawah Women’s group tops the bag.
All donations whether monetary or tangible are needed! Each year approximately 100-110 students from Haut Gap Middle School and St. John’s High School will receive bags. We invite you to become part of this program by donating or volunteering your time. To donate cash to the project you can click the donate button on the website, or send a check to KWF, 19 Grey Widgeon Lane, Kiawah Island, SC 29455-5791. Please put “teen project” in the memo line. If you would like to volunteer, go to the sign-up genius scheduler and look for the wrapping dates on the schedule for December.
Middle School Book Groups
Kiawah Women's Foundation financially supports three book clubs at the middle school. The Kiawah resident volunteer leaders choose books with the social worker and students. The students give up their lunch hour once a week in order to participate. The Kiawah Women's Foundation provides the books for all of our middle school readers which has grown from 15 to 40 book club members!
Emergency Funds Projects
Whether it be answering basic requests to buy tennis shoes and socks for an individual student who only has flip flops, providing basic uniform items when the student lacks them, supplying hygiene products, or assisting with emergency rent or utility bills for a student family that is about to be evicted the Friday before winter break, we will step up to meet these immediate needs until other social services can assist. We work closely with Communities in Schools counselors to address the student needs beyond weekend food and family emergency needs especially in time-sensitive situations.