About Backpack Brigade
Backpack Brigade was founded in 2014, when volunteers were surprised to learn that a significant number of Seattle school children face hunger each weekend. Many displaced students rely solely on the free breakfasts and lunches they receive at school, so weekends and breaks leave them without a reliable source of food.
Now, every Friday during the school year, our volunteers pack bags of nutritious, easy-to-eat food and drop them at area K-8 schools, where they are distributed to students in need. In addition, boxes of healthy snacks are delivered to area high schools for hungry older teens. Powered by volunteers and strengthened through donations and sponsors, Backpack Brigade aims to provide better food to more of Seattle’s hungry children each weekend.
We are proud to be a recognized and licensed 501(c)(3) charitable organization, tax ID 47-4086877
Teachers are saying
"Rarely am I able to hand families something tangible that can effect immediate change. Handing out the backpacks of food does just that. It has become something to look forward to for many students. We are incredibly lucky to have Nichelle and the Y supporting our community!"
The Schools We Serve
We regularly feed kids from in over 26 elementary and K-8 schools, from North Seattle to South.
Contact us if you are interested in receiving meals for your child at one of these locations
Special Covid-19 Meal Service
During the coronavirus pandemic we are supporting the Seattle Public Schools' plan for providing student meals, including meal delivery at all of their 26 distribution sites. For full details click here.
Nichelle felt the call to start the program after being moved by the documentary "A Place at the Table". She and several volunteers started by delivering eight bags to a local school and since then have grown the program into what it is now. She has always worked for the benefit of children and always at non-profit. She has five daughters, runs a farm, and loves books and animals.
Sara Call is a teacher in Seattle Public Schools and has been working with students from diverse backgrounds for over 20 years.
Board Member | Nutritionist
Marcy MacAdam moved to Seattle in 2018. She received her BS in Nutrition from Central Washington University and has been an active member of multiple youth organizations. Although her education is in nutrition, she worked as a dental professional for 15 years before relocating to Seattle. Her interests are anything food and anything outdoors.
Board Member | Fundraising
Bahareh Samanian began volunteering with Backpack Brigade in early 2021. As a mother of two young children, Bahareh was immediately drawn to the opportunity to roll up her sleeves and pack bags that would directly help hungry children in the area. Bahareh grew up in the Seattle area and attended local schools including the University of Washington for undergraduate studies and Seattle University School of Law for law school. After practicing law as a litigator for nine years, Bahareh made a career shift to return to her law school alma mater and help law students and alumni find jobs during the legal recession. She moved into a director role with the alumni relations and advancement team at Seattle University School of Law before joining Davis Wright Tremaine, where she led Lawyer Talent Acquisition nationally for six years. Bahareh is currently a national legal recruiter and the founder of Bahareh Legal, LLC where she is focused on diversifying the partnership at national law firms, corporate legal departments, and the C-Suite. Bahareh enjoys family hikes in new destinations, yoga, and trying new recipes and cuisines. Bahareh is excited to bring her strategic background in outreach, fundraising, and development to Backpack Brigade to help them exceed their fundraising goals. If you would like to become a corporate sponsor, please contact Bahareh.
Mike has been helping Backpack Brigade since its early days based out of the YWCA East Cherry location in Seattle. Mike enjoys supporting Nichelle and the BB team as it makes a difference in as many kids’ lives as possible.
Professionally, Mike was with Microsoft until January 2020, having spent almost 20 years in a variety of roles. Most recently, he built & ran the finance & business development teams in Turn 10 Studios, part of Xbox, through a period of substantial business & franchise growth. Among his previous Microsoft roles, Mike worked in Business Development in Microsoft Dynamics, and was a instrumental player in the founding team of Microsoft Capital in the early 2000s. Prior to Microsoft, Mike enjoyed a long career in banking, with his most recent positions including serving as President of UPS Capital Global Trade Finance and, before that, as Vice President of a BankAmerica portfolio company in New Delhi, India. Mike’s education is in Finance, with a BA in Finance from Florida Atlantic University, and he grew up in Vienna, Austria and Spring Valley, NY.
On the personal side, Mike lives in Seattle with his wife Barbara, and travels extensively. Personal pursuits include open water endurance swimming, bicycling, and writing.
After being born and raised in Kirkland, Shane went to California to go to college and ultimately started his career in Finance in Investment Banking in 2003. After a stint in Private Equity, and a return to Investment Banking, Shane found his way back to the Pacific Northwest to get an MBA from the University of Washington. Upon graduation in 2012, Shane began working at Intellectual Ventures in the Finance department holding a variety of roles and responsibilities, where he remained until joining Donuts in 2020 as Senior Director of FP&A, where he currently works.
Shane currently lives in Kirkland with his wife and two young kids. In his free time I enjoy spending time with my family outdoors, watching Seattle and UW sports, playing golf and travelling (when possible).
Mary Ellen Osthus
Board Member | Secretary
Mary Ellen Osthus began volunteering with Backpack Brigade during the Covid-19 lockdown. She feels an urgency to address food insecurity in our school communities and is honored to be part of the Backpack Brigade mission.
Mary Ellen grew up in Seattle, has a degree in English from the University of Washington and enjoyed a long career with home-town retailer Nordstrom. She is currently Director of Planning for Men's and Women's Sportswear at Eddie Bauer.
Mary Ellen has two college aged sons and lives in Seattle with her husband Scott. In her free time she keeps busy sailing, gardening, cooking, reading and taking urban hikes with Scott.
Aga Scheurich was introduced to Nichelle and Backpack Brigade through her employer, Homestreet Bank, in 2014. Shortly after, inspired by the organization’s involvement in the local community, she and her colleagues started delivering bags of food to local schools. Aga was born in Poland and moved to Seattle in 2011. She received her MA in International Relations from Wroclaw University of Economics in Poland and has since worked in the marketing and banking fields. In her free time she enjoys taking long walks, traveling and reading.
We are looking for amazing people like YOU to join our board and help us fight child hunger in Seattle. Contact us to apply.
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We are looking for a marketing professional to join our board. This position is to propel our image, branding and name into mainstream society. You’ll bring new creative ideas to our organization. This position has a lot of latitude and is ideal for someone who enjoys being creative and taking the initiative. Click below to contact us to apply.
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We are looking for a lawyer to join our board. As a member of Backpack Brigade, you will serve as a liaison between the board of directors and the rest of the organization. You will apply and offer specialized legal knowledge, skills, and perspectives. Click below to contact us to apply.