Connecticut Food Bank’s Kids’ BackPack Program offers a simple solution to a basic need that is not adequately met for many Connecticut children – food. Chronic hunger has an overall affect on the health and education of one in six Connecticut children. The Kids’ BackPack Program provides children with weekend access to healthy food that helps them learn and grow.
By partnering with local public school systems, teachers and staff, Connecticut Food Bank can identify students who are food insecure and provide them with kid-friendly food that is discreetly distributed at school at the end of each week. Through the Kids’ BackPack Program, we hope that weekends without adequate nourishment are no longer an issue for children in households where sufficient and consistent food supplies fall short of what is needed.
How it works
Schools in Connecticut Food Bank’s service area with students who are in need of supplemental food complete a letter of agreement and designate a staff person to serve as the school’s program coordinator. The school coordinator is provided with necessary training, paperwork and procedures to set up the program. Connecticut Food Bank’s staff also is available to assist with the program’s implementation and to answer questions.
School staff is responsible for identifying students in need and for determining the best method to distribute the food to eligible children.
In the 2013-2014 school year, Connecticut Food Bank is planning to serve approximately 2,900 students from more than 100 schools. Among the towns that have participating schools are Branford, Bridgeport, Danbury, Deep River, East Haven, Essex, Middletown, New Haven, Norwalk, Plainfield, Putnam, Stratford, Stamford, Torrington, Trumbull, Waterbury, West Haven and Winchester.
Children receive approximately 10 different food items that are nutritious, kid-friendly, shelf-stable and ready to eat with little or no cooking (some might need to be heated in a microwave).
Examples of items that are packed may include:
- Two servings of shelf-stable milk
- 100 percent fruit juices
- Whole-grain cereal
- Dried fruit
- Granola bars
- Fruit cups
Each week the food items are placed into bags by Connecticut Food Bank staff and volunteers at our East Haven and Fairfield warehouses. The school coordinator places a bag of food into a child’s backpack at the end of the school week. Using the student’s own backpack (or one provided solely for this purpose), helps shield the child from any stigma that might be associated with being hungry or receiving food assistance.
For more information
Download a copy of our Kids’ BackPack Program brochure.
To learn more about the Kids’ BackPack Program for your school, contact Terry McLaren, BackPack Program Coordinator, at 203-868-4525 or email.
For media-related inquiries about the program, contact Mary Ingarra, Communications Director, at 203-469-5000, ext. 309, or email.
To make a donation to the Kids’ BackPack Program, contact Janet Kniffin, Chief Development Officer, 203-469-5000, ext. 303, or email.