‘Weekend Bag Program’ to continue with teen founder college-bound
NEWTON — Near the end of the 2018-19 school year, we told you about the extraordinary efforts by a Newton High School student to feed food-insecure students at six schools.
Now Isobel Costello is headed to college, at Loyola University New Orleans, but the nonprofit Weekend Bag Program she founded will keep going thanks to her two sisters, one of whom is about to enter high school.
"I'm still going to be supervising and checking in, making sure everything's running smoothly, but she's going to be doing that area," Costello said.
Keeping up Isobel's pace is going to be a tall order. The Weekend Bag Program is poised to enter a seventh school, expanding the initiative's reach of nearly 80 children who receive weekly deliveries to satisfy three meals a day, plus snacks and hygienic products.
The COVID-19 pandemic, as it did with everything, altered the normal flow of Costello's deliveries, which are done anonymously through volunteer liaisons. She also found it difficult to locate some needed groceries due to supply chain delays.
Still, she reports getting 840 bags, accounting for some 5,000 meals, out to the kids who needed them through nearly four months of schools being closed.
"The community really stepped up with product donations and monetary donations so that I was able to go and get the items that I needed," she said.
The end of her high school career has left Costello reflective of the impact the Weekend Bag Program has had on her community, and on her own life. When she began, her goal was to help one school, maybe two, and spread the word about juvenile food insufficiency.
But running this organization has helped her grow as a public speaker, she said, and as a person in general, preparing her for the next step in her journey.
For more information, check out weekendbagprogram.com.