The Backpack program has created the largest noticeable difference in attendance, self-esteem, disposition, and energy levels – all play a huge role in education attainment.School Staff
While many low-income children have access to nutritious meals through their school’s free-and-reduced lunch program, these meals aren’t available on Saturday and Sunday. For kids who rely on these meals, the weekend can be a long stretch of hunger between school days, and many come back to school on Monday focused on their empty stomachs rather than their studies. Our Backpack Program helps these children by providing weekend food support throughout the school year.
Each participating child receives enough food for two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners and two snacks in a discrete and lightweight backpack. Meals consist of nonperishable items that are selected by our staff nutritionist to taste good and maintain nutrition while also being easy to prepare. As a result of the help they receive through the Backpack program, children come to school Monday morning nourished and ready to learn.
What children say:
- Over 80% responded that the Backpacks made them very happy.
What parents say:
- Nearly half definitely or somewhat agreed that without the Backpack Program, their child would have to skip one or more meals on the weekend.
- 98% definitely or somewhat agreed that the Backpack Program helped stretch their household dollars to be used for other critical family needs.
- 96% definitely or somewhat agreed that the Backpack Program has made a positive difference in the well-being of their child.
What schools say:
- The Backpack Program has created the largest noticeable difference in attendance, self-esteem, disposition, and energy levels. These positive changes help children learn and enjoy school – which plays a huge role in education attainment down the road.
Because the contents of each Backpack must be lightweight, non-perishable, nutritious, and consistent, we cannot rely on donated food and must purchase all the food used in the backpacks. Although our bulk-buying power helps us reduce the cost of purchasing these items, the program is still one of our most expensive, with an annual budget of close to $400,000.
You can make a difference!
The cost to sponsor one child in the Backpack Program for a year is $25 a month. That is less than a third of what the average American family spends on soda a year.
Please help us make sure that thousands of children in Idaho go home with a full backpack of food to enjoy over the weekend, and return to the classroom ready to learn.
When basic needs are met, children and families thrive!