Community Foundation Grant Awarded



Gastonia, NC – BackPack Weekend Food Program (BWFP) is pleased to announce it has received
a $15,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Gaston County. These funds will support
the mission of the program, which is to provide nutritionally-balanced meals to children in need on the
Founded in 2011 by Carolyn Niemeyer, the BWFP has evolved into a nearly $500,000 project serving
school-aged children in Gaston County Schools. In eight years, more than 1.4 million meals have been
served to students in grades K-12.
“We are so grateful to the Community Foundation Board of Directors for their financial support once
again this year,” said Dallas Butler, Executive Director. “This grant will ensure that hungry children will
not have to worry about their next meal on the weekend and can come to school better nourished,
more alert and ready to learn.”
The Community Foundation awards annual grants through a competitive application and review

BackPack Weekend Food Program, Inc. to host Annual Fundraiser in September

BackPack Weekend Food Program, Inc. to host Annual Fundraiser

The BackPack Weekend Food Program’s (BWFP) signature fundraiser, Dining at the Chef’s Table, is back again and with an extra, special flare. This year’s soirée will be held on Saturday, September 15, at the Gaston Country Club beginning at 6:30 p.m. A slight twist on the original event arrangement, the soirée will feature specialty tapas, pop-up performances, silent and live auctions and local Celebrity Servers.

“To mark the fourth annual fundraising event, we will celebrate nearly eight years of providing more than 1.4 million weekend meals to students in Gaston County Schools,” said Dallas Butler, Executive Director, BackPack Weekend Food Program, Inc. “We are excited to host Dining at the Chef’s Table Soirée, which we hope will be an entertaining and memorable experience for our guests and continue to raise awareness about the BWFP.”

The evening begins with cocktails and a unique auction collection, pop-up opera performances, interactive activities and an array of specialty food selections featuring Mediterranean, Southern, New Orleans, Italian and vegetarian cuisine. Emceeing the event this year are two familiar faces: Steven D’Avria, CEO at the Gaston Regional Chamber and Brigida Mack, anchor and reporter at WBTV News.

A trademark of the annual fundraiser, the 2018 Celebrity Servers are: Annie Anthony, Volunteer; Dr. William A. Current, Jr. DDS; Jennifer P. Davis, President and CEO, Jennifer P. Davis & Associates, LLC; Greg Dills, Owner, Page Power Systems, Inc.; John Forgan, Senior Vice President and Group Manager, PNC Bank; Edie Hancock, Owner, Winter Past Flowers and Gifts; Craig Kluttz, Market President and Commercial Banker, BB&T; Natalie Tindol, Owner and President, Tindol Ford; Chris Peek, President and CEO, CaroMont Health, Walker E. Reid, III, Mayor of Gastonia and Jeff Viner, Managing Partner, Gastonia Nissan.

To create competition this year, Celebrity Servers will compete to win the most desirable title “2018 Best of BWFP Celebrity Server.” Celebrity Servers will be paired with a specialty food and guests can vote for their favorite server and cuisine. For added bait, each vote cast is also a guest’s chance to walk away with a prize valued at $300 or more. Raffle tickets for voting will be available for purchase at the event (2 tickets for $5.00 or 5 tickets for $10.00).

Over 30 silent auction items will be on display for bidding—anything from a Charlotte Staycation to rare, hand-made jewelry pieces.

The evening will culminate with a live auction and the opportunity to pledge to sponsor a child for a school year. For $350, a child can receive meals for 35 weekends during the school year.

Individual guest tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at or directly here: Tickets include open bar, specialty tapas, silent and live auctions and entertainment.

“It takes a village to raise a child,” said Butler. “As a community, we are committed to helping hungry children in need through weekend meals and offering these children a better promise of tomorrow.”

Carolyn Niemeyer, Founder of the BackPack Weekend Food Program receiving the “Order Of The Longleaf Pine”

Carolyn Niemeyer, Founder of the BackPack Weekend Food Program receiving the “Order of the Longleaf Pine”

Carolyn Niemeyer, Founder of the BackPack Weekend Food Program, was recently awarded the Order of the Longleaf Pine, the highest award in North Carolina a citizen can receive.
The Order of the Longleaf Pine is awarded by the North Carolina General Assembly and signed by the Governor.

Gaston Together Award

Gaston Together

Circle of Excellence Award

The BackPack Weekend Food Program thanks Gaston Together for this prestigious award.     
This award has only been given three times in Gaston Together’s 19 year history.

Carolyn Niemeyer, BackPack Weekend Food Program Founder and Coordinator  receiving the Circle of Excellence Award.

Teens going the extra mile!

Teens going the extra mile!

Molly and Ellie packing
dental kits for the BWFP

 Liam working for the BWFP office