United Way of Defiance County Internal Programs
United Way of Defiance County has four internal programs that are ran and funded internally. Those programs include Backpack Buddy, Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, Feeding Success, and Kindergarten Camp.
The Backpack Buddy program is one of United Way of Defiance County’s four internal programs. Backpack Buddy provides kid-friendly and nutritious food 35 weekends of the school year for children who qualify for free and reduced lunches or opt-in to the program at all public elementary schools in Defiance County.
This program has been helping to keep our community’s children fed since 2010. We pack nearly 400 bags every week for these students in need.
Dolly Parton's Imagination Library
Imagination Library is a book gifting program that mails free, high-quality books to children from birth to age 5, no matter their family’s income, to encourage early literacy. Since the program launched in 2009, 89,759 books have been delivered to Defiance County residents enrolled in the program.
Around 1,200 children are currently enrolled, and that is only about 55% of eligible children in Defiance County. If you have any little ones aged 5 and under, be sure to sign them up for FREE books here: https://www.unitedwaydefiance.org/imagination-library-enrollment and spread the word!
Our Feeding Success program includes a food and personal hygiene pantry in all elementary, middle, and high schools in the county. Counselors, teachers, administrators, and coaches can access items when needs are presented. These pantries include grab and go snacks, canned goods, deodorant, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, socks, underwear, feminine hygiene products, etc.
Teachers and counselors have shared with us that these pantries are a safe space for students to discretely access the items they are in need of. They also shared that students are less distracted by hunger and less anxious about where their next meal will come from. These results are only possible thanks to our generous donors.
Kindergarten Camp is a week-long experience for students entering Kindergarten who are identified through screening that need some additional preparation before heading to school. This program teaches school skills like writing their name, social skills, fine motor skills, raising their hand, following instructions, etc. We had 153 campers throughout the county entering the 2023-2024 school year.
Teachers have reported to us that the students begin the week quite timid, but by the end of the week they are much more confident and ready for school the following week.