About Backpack Brigade

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Our Story

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.

Our Board

Nichelle Hilton

Executive Director

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.


Aga Scheurich

Vice President

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.


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.


Mariela Torres

Board Member | Marketer

A native of Honduras, Mariela has provided executive assistant support to C-Suite level executives in both the healthcare and retail industries of Fortune 500 Companies. She has specialized in business development and project management in the retail industries, in leadership roles for the planning and implementation of strategic corporate sponsor presence at events including the US Open Golf Tournament, the James Beard Taste America event, and at various annual corporate shareholder meetings. Mariela enjoys helping others both through her career and via her dedicated commitment to volunteering with local organizations such as the YWCA, United Way, and Seattle Backpack Brigade. Being able to problem solve and provide lasting solutions are strengths she provides to those with whom she collaborates. During her spare time, she is an avid cook and baker, and enjoys spending time with her young family in Seattle.


Sara Call


Sara Call is a teacher in Seattle Public Schools and has been working with students from diverse backgrounds for over 20 years.


Marcy MacAdam

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.


Bahareh Samanian

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.


Bryce Hanson

Board Member | Member at Large

Drawn to the mission of putting an end to weekend hunger for children, Bryce Hanson become involved with Backpack Brigade as a volunteer driver in 2021. Bryce has a degree in English from Western Washington University and following a near 20-year career at Amazon, now owns a consulting business and volunteers with organizations that address food insecurity. Bryce lives in Seattle with his wife Katy and their two daughters. In his free time, Bryce loves to play guitar, ski, hike, ride his bicycle, and hang out with his dog Holly.

Join Us!

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 treasurer to join our board. The Treasurer is responsible for oversight of the financial affairs of Backpack Brigade. Partnering with the Exec Director and the President, the Treasurer ensures financial controls, information, and processes suitable to BB’s and its stakeholders’ needs are in place and functioning properly. Time commitment for the Treasurer role is expected to be less than five hours per month once certain set-up work has been completed. 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.