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Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES LIFTS up students in need with new program

For some students, an education isn’t the only thing they receive from Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES.

“Food,” said Mrs. Crystal Ponto, an English teacher in CO BOCES’ Compass Program. “Unfortunately, some of our students receive a majority of their weekly nutrition from their meals at school.”

Students in Mrs. Ponto’s Senior English class identified this issue and wanted to do something to help. Together, the group recently designed the LIFT program, which is similar to backpack programs in schools and colleges across the country. The goal of the LIFT program is to help students in need by discreetly providing them with backpacks full of easy-to-prepare food and hygiene products. Once the program begins, students will be able to fill a backpack with food and/or hygiene products on a Friday afternoon and take it home.  

“We're hoping this will provide students with the essentials to get through the weekend," said Mrs. Ponto. "We’re thrilled to offer this resource to our school community."

Help fill the pantry
The community is invited to help CO BOCES gather food and hygiene products to fill the LIFT program’s pantry.

“We’re accepting financial contributions, as well as food and hygiene supplies,” said Mrs. Ponto.

Mrs. Ponto hopes to have enough supplies to begin the program in early May. The program currently has 15 backpacks available for students.

To make a donation, please contact Mrs. Ponto at or 315-253-0361.

  • Canned soups
  • Pasta
  • Canned veggies & fruit (pop top)
  • Boxed mac & cheese
  • Oatmeal
  • Instant mashed potatoes
  • Dried pasta
  • Ramen noodles
  • Crackers
  • Rice
  • Juice boxes
  • Snacks
Hygiene Supplies:
  • Bar soap
  • Feminine products
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrushes
  • Toilet paper





Brian K. Hartwell, Ed.D.
District Superintendent of Schools

1879 West Genesee Street Rd.
Auburn, NY 13021
Phone: (315) 253-0361

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