Local School Partnership & Outreach

Mt. Sylvan United Methodist Church is located just one mile down the road from Eno Valley Elementary School in Northern Durham and less than a mile from Carrington Middle, and Northern High. Together we have helped close the divide that so often separates schools from their community. As part of the partnership between Mt. Sylvan and these schools, Mt. Sylvan has committed to serving with:


The Backpack Program provides children from food-insecure homes with weekend meals during the school year. It meets the needs of participating children at Eno Valley Elementary, Carrington Middle and Lucas Middle Schools where many students would benefit from access to meals on the weekends. Teachers recommend students for the program, who are then screened by the school’s guidance counselor. Each week, bags are filled with child-friendly, nonperishable food and distributed on the last school day before weekends and vacations. Each pack has enough food for six meals and two snacks. Over the last six years, Mt. Sylvan’s backpack program has grown to pack 125 food bags a week for Eno Valley Elementary School, and 10 for Carrington Middle School. We also provide food for food pantries at Lucas Middle School and Northern High School.

Weekly volunteers are needed to shop for food, pack bags (5:00 pm every Wednesday in the Preschool Cafeteria at the church) and deliver the bags to Eno Valley.


Pop-top and individual-size items are preferred

Individual serving vegetables

Individual serving fruit

Canned meats and fish

Individual serving soups and stews

Individual breakfast items - Low-sugar cereal, oatmeal/grits packets, breakfast bar, etc.

Noodles/Instant Pastas - Easy Mac, noodle soups, Spaghetti-O’s, etc.

Individual healthy snacks - Goldfish, granola bar, raisins, dried fruit, etc.

Juice Boxes (100% juice)

Gallon-size zip lock bags

Shelf-stable chocolate milk


$8 for a week

$32 for a month

$120 for a semester

$240 for a school year


Book fair vouchers are also given to the backpack children, twice a year, so that each child may purchase books for their personal use.


Volunteer tutors from Mt. Sylvan meet with individual students on a weekly basis in their classrooms. Teachers comment that this one-on-one attention has led to significant improvements for these students.


Mt. Sylvan has also provided landscaping services not covered by the county. Volunteers serve by planting flowers, trimming bushes, spreading mulch and caring for two large rose gardens.


During the school year the church has provided breakfasts, luncheons or treat bags for the teachers.


Proctors also volunteer for testing at Eno Valley and Carrington Elementary at the end of the school year.


Throughout the year, snacks for students and school supplies are provided for teachers to use in their classrooms. Articles for the clothes closet at school are also provided and distributed as needed.


To learn more about volunteer opportunities with any of our local schools contact Katy MacDonald at katymac0615@gmail.com.

Back to School Sunday at Mt. Sylvan

We have a Back to School Sunday every August, but 2018 was very special. Mt. Sylvan Church's 2018 goal for Back to School Sunday was to collect 150 backpacks fully loaded with school supplies for our neighborhood schools (most of which are full of students on free or reduced lunch programs). By the grace of God, and the generosity of people within, and connected to, our congregation, we crushed that goal, by providing 195 backpacks full of school supplies! Praise the Lord, that we are fortunate enough to contribute in this way and continue thriving in our partnership with Eno Valley Elementary, Carrington and Lucas Middle Schools, and Northern High School. Please look through the pictures below from this momentous occasion.  

Childhood Hunger - Backpack Program

Every Wednesday at 5:00 pm every Wednesday in Mt. Sylvan's Preschool Cafeteria we have a great time of fellowship while packing food bags for our local schools. Join us some or every Wednesday to fight against childhood hunger. No need to signup. Just show up!