Backpack Program to help more hungry kids in Delaware

The Food Bank of Delaware is expanding a program that provides food for at-need children on weekends and holidays when school is not in session and federal meal programs are not available.

The Backpack Program sends children home with backpacks stocked with kid-friendly, nutritious food. Last year year the Food Bank of Delaware distributed 55,846 bags to children in need. This year the goal is 92,500 backpacks.

“It’s known that good nutrition is directly tied to children’s performance in school and overall well-being,” said Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe. “For many of our state’s children, the only nutritious meals received during the week are the meals they eat at school. Our weekend and holiday Backpack Program brings much-needed relief for families who are struggling to put meals on the table.”

The tough economy is hitting families and children across the nation and in Delaware hard. Nationwide, according to the USDA, about 16 million children aren’t getting enough to eat. In the First State, 14.8 percent of all children are undernourished.

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Some items in the backpacks include shelf-stable milk and juice, peanut butter and jelly, granola bars, apple sauce, cereal and more. They are distributed on Fridays or the last day before a holiday or vacation in a discreet manner at sites such as churches, community centers and childcare centers.

Last year there were 48 sites scattered throughout the state. To learn more about becoming a site or to find out about site locations, contact Stacy Stevens, Children’s Nutrition Program Coordinator, at 302-444-8128.

It costs approximately $198 to provide one child with weekend and holiday food for a whole year. If you’d like to help support the Backpack Program, contact Larry Haas, Development Director, at 302-294-0185.

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