Credit: Homeless Backpacks
– “Fight Child Hunger This Winter by Supporting a Backpack Program”
“For the one in five children who live in poverty, the holidays can be less-than-jolly, because they rely on school lunch to meet some or all of their nutritional needs.
“Over 12 million children experience food insecurity – and that doesn’t just mean they don’t always know when their next meal is, although that’s bad enough. Food insecurity goes hand-in-hand with poverty, and it can be accompanied by poor health outcomes, difficulties in school, emotional disturbances and much more.
“Advocacy groups and school districts are using a variety of tactics to address this issue, starting with programs to get people and communities out of poverty. But in the short term, there’s one very powerful option: the backpack program, which is often administered through a food bank that partners with a school.”
“Schools have been participating in backpack programs for over a decade, but they’re starting to get more attention as they spread across the U.S. As you might imagine, they start with a backpack — one filled with food which may be shelf-stable, perishable, or a mixture of both,” by S.E. Smith, Care2.com.
– Thurston County’s Backpacks Program
“Homeless Backpacks is a non-profit 501c3 corporation committed to ending homelessness, by giving teens the help they need so they can focus on school, go on to graduate and become contributing citizens.
“We provide food for the weekend to homeless teens in Thurston county. Some teens are in government-supported meal programs during the school day, but on their own on the weekend. Each week, volunteers deliver food bags to local middle and high schools, as well as all schools in Yelm, Rainier, Tenino and Rochester.
“Each bag has enough food for the weekend, including macaroni & cheese, tuna, ravioli, ramen noodles, chili, fruit cups, granola bars, oatmeal, juice boxes, chocolate milk and assorted snacks. Students go to the counselor’s or nurse’s office and obtain the food. Bags fit easily into backpacks so other students will not know they are part of our program. Each bag costs $8 – $9 per week to fill.”