This year’s Global Mala Recipient is the local chapter of Backpack Buddies. A grassroots effort to feed school aged children who might otherwise go hungry. During the school day, most children in need are provided meals through government programs, but when Friday rolls around, many children are faced with a weekend of wondering if they will have enough to eat. BackPack Buddies organizes and mobilizes churches, temples, companies and organizations to prepare backpacks of food for students to take home for the weekend, ensuring they will be nourished even when they are not in school.

Norman and Julie Hirsch of BackPack Buddies Savannah

Spearheaded by Norman and Julie Hirsch of Congregation Mickve Israel,  Backpack Buddies Savannah has enlisted congregations who are help to feed children in need. Each congregation is partnered with a school and puts together weekend food packs that they deliver to the school. Teachers and staff at the schools assemble the bags of food into the backpacks that have been provided by BackPack Buddies and distribute to the children in the program to take home for the weekend.

The intention is to spread this program to more congregations, companies and organizations in Savannah so that they reach out to even more students in all the schools in Chatham County. Money raised from this year’s Global Mala Savannah will be seed money to get new groups started with Backpack Buddies  in new schools and to support already existing partnerships.

If you are interested in getting your congregation, company or organization involved in the hands on efforts with Backpack Buddies, Contact Norman Hirsch directly at: 912-598-7668.


• Congregation Mickve Israel:  Partnered with  East Broad K-8 School, Shuman Elementary, Corporate Academy

Congregation Agudath Achim: Partnered with  White Bluff Elementary

• St. John’s Episcopal:  Partnered with Thunderbolt Elementary

Wesley Monumental: Partnered with Jacob G Smith Elementary

• Trinity United Methodist: Partnered with  Gadsden Elementary

• Isle of Hope Methodist: Partnered with  Isle of Hope K-8 School

• Wilmington Island Presbyterian: Partnered with  Thunderbolt Elementary


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