A few years ago, we posted an article about a program that provided some school kids with backpacks of healthful foods to take home on the weekend. The backpacks filled a gap for those students and families by ensuring that kids would show up Monday morning hungry for learning, not for food. [Read the article, For Hungry Kids, Backpacks Lighten the Load].
Back in 2007, backpack programs like the ones described in that article dotted the landscape of U.S. schools. Since that article first appeared, though, the number of programs has grown by truckloads. Witness this handful of headlines I’ve spotted in local newspapers in just the past few weeks:
- Food Bank’s Backpacks Help Feed Hungry Students
The San Diego Food Bank has expanded their Food 4 Kids Backpack Program to 800 students in 22 schools.
- Program Would Send Food Home With Students
The Brush, Colorado, Board of Education authorized the implementation of the “Blessings in a Backpack Program” to meet the needs of students who don’t always have enough to eat at home.
- Two County Schools Start Backpack Programs
Two North Carolina schools are joining others in their county that provide families with easy-to-prepare foods for the weekends and holidays when students cannot eat breakfast and lunch at school.
- Help Sought to Expand BackPack Program
The Connecticut FoodBank is seeking community support to expand the local reach of the Kids' BackPack Program, which launched last spring at two schools with sponsorship from General Electric.
- Tanner Foundation Helps Keep Kids From Going Hungry
A foundation’s $10,000 grant will help one South Carolina primary school give students what they need through their Backpack Program.
“A backpack program is a natural solution to a need,” says Karrie Denniston, director of programs for Feeding America, a charity dedicated to feeding hungry Americans through a network of more than 200 food banks. “A backpack program is one of those programs that gets to the heart of a need and fills it.”
Whether backpack programs are organized by PTOs, churches, food banks or other groups, they are filling a deep need and helping to improve students health and achievement.
For more information about Feeding America’s backpack efforts, view the video at the bottom of this blog entry. For more information about backpack programs, click the links below.
Learn more about Feeding America’s BackPack Program, which is designed to meet the needs of hungry children at times when other resources are not available, such as weekends and school vacations.
For Hungry Kids, Backpacks Lighten the Load
Students who are disruptive, can't concentrate, or lack motivation may not need a firm hand; they might need a helping hand! With the help of communities, the simple remedy is a backpack -- a school standby -- that is filled with food supplies to help kids get the fuel they need to flourish. Included: Advice from successful backpack programs.