The BackPack Program is designed to meet the needs of hungry children at times when other resources are not available, such as weekends and school vacations. Backpacks are filled with food that children can take home on the weekends. The food is child-friendly, nonperishable and easily consumed. The backpacks are discreetly distributed to children on the last day before the weekend or holiday vacation.
More than 55,000 northwest Indiana children qualify for free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program and the National School Breakfast Program. For many of these children, school meals may be the only meals they eat. What happens when they go home over the weekend?
For more than 15 years, the Feeding America BackPack Program has been helping children get the nutritious and easy-to-prepare food for weekends. Today, bags of food are assembled at more than 160 local food banks and then distributed to more than 450,000 children at the end of the week.
Thanks to generous support from the Red Nose Day Fund, the BackPack Program was able to meet the need of even more young people in underserved areas like East Chicago. The Food Bank of Northwest Indiana served more than 400 children each week during 2016-2017 school year!