What about when school is out?
The BackPack Program’s purpose is to improve students’ academic performance and physical health by providing them with the nutritious food necessary for them to learn and thrive, rather than focusing on the symptoms and effects of chronic hunger. In late 2007, Montana Food Bank Network piloted the BackPack program with DeSmet School in Missoula. During the pilot phase, DeSmet School’s administration recognized the value of the program and decided to partner with MFBN to roll out Montana’s first BackPack program in January 2008. 13 years later, DeSmet school is still serving 30 students each week!
Since that time, MFBN has expanded the BackPack Program to serve over 5000 students weekly, through 131 partnering sites throughout Montana.
The program provides bags filled with food that is child-friendly, non-perishable, and easily prepared at home. BackPack bags are discreetly distributed to children on the last day before the weekend or school holiday to ensure that children have enough to eat when away from school meals. Each BackPack bag contains enough food for one child to enjoy breakfast, lunch, and snacks on Saturday and Sunday as well as milk, juice, and a treat! When elementary students are referred to the program, any preschool siblings at home are automatically enrolled as well, and receive their own BackPack bag each week.
For more information about the BackPack program in your area, contact Erika Berglund, Programs Coordinator.