Backpack to Cat Pack

The new Dallastown Cat Pack program positively impacts hundreds of kids every week.

Official Cat Packs Program Logo- Featured On Their Website. Cat Packs was introduced as a independent program after COVID struck the District.

Cat Packs Website

Official Cat Packs Program Logo- Featured On Their Website. Cat Packs was introduced as a independent program after COVID struck the District.

On May 21, students will have the opportunity to participate in various challenges, obstacles, and fun at the revamped Down and Dirty event being held at our school. However, what’s most important is the organization behind it all, Dallastown Cat Packs.

Cat Packs is a program that provides food to families from intermediate school through high school who are in need.

The District had a “backpack program” in place that was unfortunately shut down when the schools closed from COVID. Cat Packs was then created as a separate non-profit organization that could continue independently to support distinct families.

Being a nonprofit organization can be challenging but Cat Packs has gathered a lot of support so far.

“We’ve been able to do everything to this point with the help of gracious donations that have come in from churches and community organizations that support us,” Jennifer Spangler, Vice President of Cat Packs, states.

Spangler got involved with Cat Packs because of previously working with the backpack program in the district. When there were possibilities of changing the program for the better, she jumped at the opportunity to be involved.

Spangler states that her favorite part of the program is seeing the reactions of the kids and families who receive the packs.

“We’ve got a lot of letters and stories from the guidance counselors that brought us to tears,” Spangler says.

“Knowing that this was a program that was so needed, and that we could sustain it and gain support was great.”

Jillian Mastromatteo, Secretary of Cat Packs, was also thrilled to be a part of the program when it was introduced.

“I want every single student in our District to have the opportunity to succeed,” Mastromatteo says.

What really changed the organization as a whole, was being able to communicate with the families involved with the program. Before, they couldn’t contact any of the students who picked up the packs.

It makes my heart happy to see smiling kiddos and to know that our organization may have played a part in their success”

— Jillian Mastromatteo

“It makes my heart happy to see smiling kiddos and to know that our organization may have played a part in their success,” Mastromatteo says.

Cat Packs strives to make convenience a top priority for the kids. For example, if a family doesn’t have a kitchen tool, such as a can opener, Cat Packs can provide that family with it.

They also send home bigger packs for holidays, extended breaks, and more.

Cat Packs is always in need of food donations. They put 2-3 breakfast items, 2-3 snacks, 2 fruits, and 3-5 lunch or dinner items in each pack.

“Boxed cereal, instant oatmeal, microwavable popcorn, canned soup, instant mashed potatoes, boxes of pasta, etc. are the most needed,” Spangler states.

Donations can be dropped off in the school office with a label for Cat Packs. There is also a link on the Cat Packs website that allows you to shop on Amazon and have a percentage of what you spend, go to the organization.

“We’ve got big goals and a lot of amazing, dedicated people in our organization, and we will only continue to grow from here,” Mastromatteo says.

“Look for big things to come from Dallastown Cat Packs!”

Cat Pack Amazon link