Janesville comes together to fill “Bags of Hope”

350 of neediest families in district helped by effort
Janesville comes together to fill “Bags of Hope”

The holiday season’s spirit of giving took over the Janesville School District on Saturday as volunteers distributed food to hundreds of families in need.

Craig High School football coach Jim Reif traded the sideline for a food assembly line as the community came together for “Bags of Hope.”

“We deliver groceries to 350 of the neediest families in the school district,” explained Reif.

Some of those families’ stories are well known to Reif.

“One of my students comes up to me and he goes, ‘Mr. Reif, is that the thing where they come to my house and drop off all this food?’ And I kind of quietly in the side of the room go, ‘Yeah,’ and she goes, ‘We get that every year. I didn’t eat over break before that.'”

Thanks to local business and community donations, the “Bags of Hope” program is able to provide two weeks’ worth of food to families in need.


“Sometimes they’re homeless families, some of them have just lost their job, some of them have three jobs and they just can’t make ends meet, some of them have lots of children, so lots of different reasons,” said school social worker Angela Lynch.

With the help of hundreds of volunteers, carts full of food and other groceries will be delivered to 350 families in the Janesville area, making their season a lot brighter.

“They are profusely grateful, and tearful, and a lot of times, saying, ‘You have no idea how much this is helping our family,’ and very happy to receive the food,” said Lynch.

All of Saturday’s volunteers were from the Janesville School District.

Teachers have been running the drive since the drive’s original sponsor, General Motors, left Janesville in 2008.

Extra food from Saturday’s drive will be donated to ECHO (Everyone Cooperating to Help Others) in Janesville as well as The Salvation Army.