The Backpack Program – Filling the Gap in Children’s Nutrition
Research shows that hungry kids have a tougher time concentrating and have more behavioral problems than those who are well nourished. Around West Seattle, you’ll find many teachers who can tell you about a student who came to school on Monday eager to get back to the school meals after going Friday evening through Sunday without a square meal. We started the Backpack Program, to ensure that all children in our community have the healthy and nutritious food they need to grow strong in body and mind. The Backpack Program provides food for the weekend when other programs are not available.
The concept is simple: children at risk of weekend hunger receive a bag of food consisting of six balanced meals that are kid-friendly, nutritious, nonperishable, and easy to prepare/eat. Each “Backpack” offers enough food that children can easily assemble into six healthy meals over the weekend when schools are not there to provide breakfasts or lunches. See our Backpack Wishlist for items that are always needed for this program.
Eleven local West Seattle schools, pick their designated food up each week from the Food Bank for approximately 270 children; assemble the backpacks at the school and then distribute them to the children in need —discreetly—each Friday afternoon.