60% 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.
The program serves nearly 600 children per week at 36 Humboldt County schools.
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 the program 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.
The Backpacks for Kids program is managed by our Child Nutrition Programs Coordinator, who can be reached at (707) 445-3166 ext. 309 or via email at ChildNutrition@foodforpeople.org.
Interested in sponsoring a child?
$325 sponsors one local child for an entire school year, ensuring that he or she receives a weekly backpack of nutritious food every Friday, so there is 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. Please click here to contact our Child Nutrition Programs Coordinator with any questions about Backpacks for Kids.
Looking for help?
The Backpacks for Kids program is available at a limited number of schools across Humboldt County, as funding is available. Each participating school handles enrollment in the program at their own site (Food for People can not sign children up for this program directly). If you'd like to find out if your school participates or has openings, please ask the front office, resource center or school counselor.