The Food Bank BackPack Program began during the 2004-05 school year at Clinton Elementary School, sending home food-filled backpacks on Friday afternoons with 50 kids. The program quickly took off and now is serving hundreds of students. The BackPack Program’s mission is to help alleviate child hunger in southeast Nebraska by providing hungry children with nutritious and easy to prepare food at times when other resources are not available, such as weekends and school vacations.
The BackPack Program continues to provide backpacks filled with food to students in need of food over the weekend. The program primarily targets students who qualify for their school’s Free Lunch Program. Many of these students rely on their school’s breakfasts and lunches for their most nutritious meals of the day. In some cases, these are their only meals of the day. These students are then faced with a food crisis over the weekend. The BackPack Program is a way to help these students and their families until students return to school on Monday.
In addition the Food Bank sponsors the LPS Emergency Pantry in cooperation with Leadership Lincoln and Lincoln Public Schools. Any LPS family in need of food can utilize the Emergency Pantry.
Currently, the BackPack Program sends 3,000 backpacks home to students on Friday afternoons in 30 Lincoln Public Schools, 5 Lincoln Catholic Schools and 39 rural communities in Southeast Nebraska. Click here for a complete list of schools served.
The program rotates six different menus throughout the school year. The goal of the BackPack Program is to supply a student and his or her family with four to five meals per menu. Although the Food Bank BackPack Program serves over 3,000 children, the need is great and there are still more hungry children in our community. Census figures for 2009 reveal there are 20,140 children under the age of 18 who are dealing with "food insecurity"(not knowing when/where there next meal will come from). There currently over 12,000 elementary students were enrolled in the Free Lunch Program in the Lincoln Public Schools.
You can help support the BackPack Program in a number of ways. Join the Food Bank, Lincoln Public Schools, and our rural communities in our work to feed
hungry children and their families.
Click here for a Feeding America video on the BackPack program
Learn about the BackPack Extra Mile Walk