Backpack Program


The Breakdown of the Backpack Program

  • The cost to send home a bag of shelf-stable food per child each weekend for the entire 42-week school year is just $100 per child.
  • The food is intended to supplement the weekend meals both for the child and other members in the household.
  • Backpack bags are distributed to 1,000 children who also receive after-school meals.

ImageCurrently, we are preparing to distribute to backpack bags to more than 1,000 children for the 2013-2014 school year. Through generous gifts from corporate and private sponsors, we provided backpacks to 1,000 children during the 2012-2013 school year.

But 1,700 other children similarly identified as food insecure are going without due to a lack of necessary funding.

For the 2,700 children who participate in the after-school school snack program, nutrition begins and ends with the school day. Breakfast and lunch are available free through their schools, and a nutritious after-school snack is provided by the food bank. However, during the weekends or extended school breaks like Christmas, many of these children go for days without food in their stomachs. Recognizing this problem, we began the Backpack Program locally in 2008.

The Backpack Program helps feed children who live in poverty and are already receiving reduced-fee or free meals during the school week. The program bridges the gap in providing nutritious food outside of the school week when food resources are not readily available, such as weekends and on vacation breaks. Each Friday, a bag of food goes home in their backpacks to provide meals for the child and other members of the family.

Sending home food enough to provide a weekend’s worth of balanced meals for the entire family, results are two-fold. For the child, it means returning to school Monday alert and ready to thrive in the classroom; at the same time, reducing hunger at home improves living conditions, reducing anxiety and bolstering morale for both child and family.

During the 2012-2013 school-year, the food bank distributed 420,000 pounds of food to 1,000 hungry children via the Backpack program. 

How Can You Help?

The food bank provided 1,000 children with food from the Backpack Program in 2012-2013 through its after-school snack program, but those children were selected from a group of 2,700 food insecure children living in poverty and equally eligible. All are deserving, and for the coming 2013-2014 school year, even more children are expected to be added to their ranks. Given their level of poverty and food insecurity, the food bank has set itself the enormous goal of providing weekend meals for every one of these 2,700 kids.

A bag of food per child (for them & their family) for the weekends during the 42-week school year costs only $100.

To learn more about enrolling your agency or child in the BackPack program, contact Director of Agency Relations Susan Evans at 


To learn more about the Backpack Program, or to sponsor a child or site, contact Taylor Strasser, advancement manager, at 904.730.8245 or e-mail