Back to School Campaign
As children get back to school, there is the excitement of seeing friends again, spending time in a new classroom, and learning more about their favorite subject. For children to have a successful school year, it is imperative that they have nutritious food. Knowing that nearly 9 percent of children in Idaho may not get enough to eat is a problem by itself, but its implications extend well beyond hunger pangs. Children facing food insecurity have a higher risk of falling behind in school, having lower test scores, and are more likely to exhibit behavioral problems. That is why we partner with schools to make food available for children and their families during the school year.
The Backpack Program is a collaboration with public schools to provide bags full of food that fit in a child’s backpack so that kids who are hungry have food during the weekend when school meals are not available. The program delivers bags that contain two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners, and two snacks – enough food to nourish the kids over the weekend. Backpack foods must be shelf-stable, “kid-friendly,” and easy for a child to prepare when there is not an adult around.
When asked how it felt to receive the Backpack food one student said, “It makes me feel happy you guys support me.”
Early in the Backpack Program, The Foodbank staff recognized that more than 80% of participating students were sharing their weekend food with siblings and parents. That led to the establishment of The Idaho Foodbank’s School Pantry Program. The program operates food pantries located inside public schools that offer students and their families easy access to food for their household. Last year, nearly 16,000 households were supported by School Pantries in Idaho.
For just $300, supporters can become a Backpack Buddy and support a child with a Backpack every week of the school year. In September, Idaho Central Credit Union is matching donations for the Backpack Program so that new Backpack Buddies will be providing a Backpack for two children.
We are so grateful for the statewide support for our Back to School Campaign, which benefits our Backpack and School Pantry programs.