About Us




Our goal is to provide children in need with weekly food backpacks over the weekend and holidays.


Some children living in economically disadvantaged areas within Anne Arundel County are dependent on receiving breakfast and lunch from school.  We serve children who receive free or reduced lunch.


Maryland is one of the wealthiest states in our country, however nearly 21 percent are unable to provide regular, healthy meals for their family and "10 percent of Marylanders live below the poverty line" www.mdhungersolutions.org).  Within Anne Arundel County approximately 16,920 children are living in food insecure households (www.Feedingamerica.org).  We aim to reduce the impact of poverty on the communities by decreasing the prevalence of food insecurity among children.


Nutrition plays an important role in the physical development of children. It is also one of the primary components of a child's academic success.  Children from food insecure households are more likely to lag behind in terms of academic development when compared to other children (www.Feedingamerica.org). 


Services from the Heart, Backpack Buddies Program exists to help provide, healthy, nutritional foods to economically disadvantaged children.


As we assist children with meeting their basic and essential needs such as food, we also open the doors of opportunity allowing them to flourish and progress as happy, healthy individuals.



  • Donna Wilson-Johnston, LMSW (President & Founder)

  • David Petrillo, Vice President

  • Mike McCormick, Volunteer Coordinator & Grant Writer


How are children selected for the

Backpack Buddies Program?


The children selected for our Backpack Buddies Program are identified by the schools Principal, Guidance Counselor, and/or Program Coordinator.


The following criteria is used when selecting children for our Backpack Buddies Program:


  • Focus on Title 1 Schools within Anne Arundel County serving disadvantaged and low income children

  • Consider number of children within the household

  • Employment status of Parent/Parents within the household

  • Child shares a financial hardship with the Program Coordinator or Guidance Counselor

  • Parent requests help, staff observes a hungry child in the cafeteria, or a child tells staff they are hungry/no food in the home

  • Consider other outside supports the family is receiving

  • Child is homeless


  • Heather Croft, Secretary

  • Charlie McNeilly, CPA

  • Tara Williamson


Award Received - May 2013

Services from the Heart, Backpack Buddies Program was nominated as one of the Partners of the Year by the Northern Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce. 

SFTH Board Members


 501 (c)3


© 2015. Created by 

Services from the Heart - Backpack Buddies Program

Email us: 


Mailing Address:

Services from the Heart, Inc.

Backpack Buddies Program

550 M Ritchie Highway #191

Severna Park, MD 21146

Packing & Storage Location:

Severna Park Community Center

623 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd.

Severna Park, MD 21146