BackSnack Program

Harvesters BackSnack Program - Social Justice Update

Beth Torah continues to participate in the Harvesters BackSnack Program and will be partnering with an elementary school starting again in September to distribute food packs to children in need.  We could use more drivers on Thursdays to come to Congregation Beth Torah to collect the food and then drive it to the school to deliver it--but there’s no heavy lifting required since Beth Torah staff loads your car and school staff brings the food packs  in from your car. You may contribute as little as one hour a month, or whatever fits into your schedule, and you will know you will be making a difference in the lives of many children.

If you can spare an hour or two a month, please contact Diane Balanoff at (913) 238-4276 or

Tikkun Olam – Focus on: Diane Balanoff

As the mother of three grown children and proud Bubbe of seven grandchildren, you might say that providing nourishment to enable children to grow and develop into healthy adults has long been a passion of mine. Many of us share the sadness when we think about the children out there who simply don’t have enough to eat.  Fortunately, there is a way we can help give these growing kids the sustenance they need: the Harvesters BackSnack program.  

I was excited about the opportunity to coordinate Congregation Beth Torah’s participation in BackSnack two years ago.  I am equally passionate about the program today, and so are many other Beth Torah members, including my new partner this year, Adrianne Applebaum.  We receive, pack and distribute backpacks full of healthy weekend snacks to approximately 50 children at Pawnee Elementary School. These children qualify for free meals at school, but wouldn’t have enough to eat on the weekends without Harvesters.

With coordination from Marcia Rittmaster and Jill Fine, our Religious School students help prepare the backpacks each week, which makes BackSnack an especially meaningful social justice program. We also have a team of dedicated adult volunteers. It’s a wonderful team effort, and I think everyone involved considers it a privilege to be able to help address the problem of chronic hunger in Kansas City and improve the lives of so many children.

The Harvesters BackSnack Program at Beth Torah is seeking volunteers to either help pack the foodpacks, or deliver them to our partner school, Pawnee Elementary School. Your help (even once a month), will make an enormous difference in the lives of the children we serve as we strive to eliminate hunger in school age children.  Please contact Diane Balanoff at (913) 238-4276 if you would like to offer your help!