N.E.W. Backpack Buddies is to provide food to hungry children in our region and to enrich their lives by giving them a greater opportunity for growth, learning, and development.

Typical weekend bag contents

  • 1 large canned entree; chef boyardee, hearty soup
  • 2 small canned protein; beanie weenie, beef stew
  • 1 mac and cheese individual serving
  • 1 ramen noddles individual serving
  • 2 cereal boxes; individual servings
  • 1 instant oatmeal
  • 1 bar
  • 1 fruit cup
  • 1 applesauce
  • 1 sweet snack; poptarts, raisins
  • 1 salty snack; pretzles, goldfish
  • 1 protein snack; Lance crackers, individual serving of peanut butter
  • 2 fresh produce
  • **15oz jars of peanut butter are sent home every six weeks

Board members

  • Kelley Barnes (President)
  • Lauren Repenyek
  • Robin Brannigan
  • Jessica Menas
  • Linda Thornton
  • Michelle Peck
  • Jodi Freudig
  • Natalie Garrett
  • Kristi French


Backpack Buddies was started in 2006, as a youth mission at Rolesville Baptist Church. Jeff Pethel was the youth minister and had seen a young child in a convenience store scraping money together to eat a meal. His mission grew quickly due to his compassion and dedication.

In September 2011, North East Wake Backpack Buddies developed into a 501 c(3) non-profit organization separate from the church.

Student Board

High school students from across Wake County have joined together to form a student board. They dedicate their time to develop fundraising opportunities, help with packing bags, and promoting us through social media.

Recent Photos

North East Wake Backpack Buddies

North East Wake Backpack Buddies is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that was created to meet the needs of hungry children in the Rolesville, Wake Forest, and Raleigh area. The program serves over 400 bags each week for 17 schools. The program is funded solely by donations - corporate and individual. There are no paid staff and all work is done by volunteers.