If children who receive weekend Backpacks are dealing with food insecurity, it makes sense that their siblings are, too. Survey responses from parents and children confirm that 81 percent of children share their Backpack food with brothers and sisters, and that their entire family could benefit from emergency food assistance. School Pantries are a natural extension of the Backpack program.
Schools provide a trusting environment where staff can offer parents a little extra support and help them feed their families. The Idaho Foodbank selects nutritious and nonperishable items, and stocks school pantry shelves with enough food to help feed a family for three to five days. Vouchers for a free gallon of milk are also available through the School Pantry program.
The School Pantry program was piloted with three schools in 2010 and grew to more than a dozen across Idaho in 2011. Steady growth is projected as we continue to help low-income students and their families have access to free emergency food.