Monday, November 8, 2010

Backpacks Help Feed Hungry Kids
All Weekend Long

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:

In 2008, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that 16 million U.S. children live in “food insecure” households [source]. Knowing what we know about our country’s economy, a growing unemployment rate has likely increased that need -- which explains why we’re seeing more and more about backpack programs in local news headlines.

“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.

Backpack Programs
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.


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