More than 50% of Humboldt County children are eligible to receive free or reduced-cost meals at school. For many working and struggling families, these meals are a blessing and help keep children fed in difficult times. However, school meals are not available on weekends, and many children go home to empty cupboards. Being at risk for hunger over the weekend makes it difficult to complete homework and come to school on Monday on time, healthy and ready to learn.
Our Backpacks for Kids program helps close the gap for many local schoolchildren, to reduce the stress of weekend hunger and to help children develop into their healthiest and most successful selves. Children who come to school well fed on Monday morning behave and perform better in their classrooms, which helps them and their peers succeed in school.
The Backpacks for Kids Program provides income-eligible children with a bag of kid-friendly food on Fridays during the school year. Food for People provides the food for the program and dedicated community volunteers pack and deliver the backpacks to each school site. Each bag contains enough food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for two days.
Last school year the program served 418 children per week at 19 schools. Site partners for the current school year include the following schools: Alice Birney, South Bay, Pine Hill, Lafayette, Grant, Arcata Elementary, Trillium, S. Fortuna Elementary, Fortuna Middle, Toddy Thomas, Ambrosini, Loleta, Morris, Dow's Prairie, Hydesville, Cuddeback, Peninsula Union, Trinidad, Trinity Valley, Blue Lake, Redway, South Fork High, and Bridgeville. Staff and teachers at each school work with families to enroll kids in the program and make sure they get their food on Fridays.
Funding for Backpacks for Kids is provided by local service clubs, grants, and individual donors in the community. Volunteer support is donated by service clubs, local nonprofits and others who help the program run smoothly and efficiently. Backpacks for Kids is truly a collaborative effort, and it takes a community to make the program successful.
Interested in sponsoring a child? $250 purchases food for one local child to receive a weekly backpack of nutritious food every Friday, so that he or she will have enough to eat over the weekend. Consider giving the gift of weekend food by sponsoring a child or donating an amount of your choice. Be sure to let us know that your donation is intended for the Backpacks for Kids Program. Click here to learn more about making a donation. Please click here to contact our Child Nutrition Programs Coordinator with any questions about Backpacks for Kids.