This nationally-recognized program distributes nutritious food to children at the end of the school day, before weekends and/or school breaks.
Students are identified by school personnel as being food insecure by a variety of criteria. More than 87,000 children in the Foodbank’s area are eligible to receive free or reduced-price school lunches – a reliable indicator that hunger and food insecurity regularly threaten their respective lives.
At present, the Foodbank serves 53 elementary schools in our area including schools in Tidewater and on the Eastern Shore. During fiscal year 2016, we distributed over 61,200 bags to over 3,400 students through this Program.
About the BackPack Program:
Bags/backpacks filled with food that children take home on weekends. Food is child-friendly, non-perishable, and easily-consumed. Bags/backpacks are discreetly distributed to children on the last day before the weekend or holiday vacation.
The BackPack Concept:
The BackPack Program concept was developed at the Arkansas Rice Depot, after a school nurse asked for help because hungry students were coming to her with stomachaches and dizziness. The local food bank began to provide the school children with groceries in non-descript backpacks to carry home. Locally, the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore piloted a BackPack Program for the first time on the Eastern Shore in 2008. The program received positive feedback and was wildly successful, spawning the establishment of a regionwide BackPack Program.
The BackPack Program became a pilot program in 1995. The National Council of Feeding America approved the BackPack Program as an official national program of the Network in July 2006.
For more information, please contact Debbie Kleeger, Childhood Nutrition Manager at 757.314.4555.