While in-school breakfast and lunch provide reliable nutrition throughout the school week, less advantaged students may experience food insecurity when school is not in session. For these students, insufficient nutrition over weekends and school breaks has the potential to limit their ability to learn, grow, and thrive. The Food Bank partners with schools to identify students in need and to provide weekend food BackPacks each Friday afternoon throughout the school year. For these students, the consistent food supply the BackPack program provides can help alleviate food insecurity for the student by discreetly providing a set of nutritious, kid-friendly food each week. A rotating menu of ready-to-eat and easy-to-prepare foods keeps variety high, and the program menu benefits from the many varied donations the Food Bank receives each week.
Each BackPack contains:
2 breakfast items (cereal, oatmeal packets, graham crackers, granola bars)
3 entrées (macaroni & cheese, PB & J, Spaghetti-O’s, tuna fish, soup, spaghetti and sauce)
A loaf of bread
Stewart’s voucher cards for a gallon of milk and dozen eggs (distributed every other week)
Canned vegetables (distributed monthly)
2 snacks (cookies, popcorn, pudding, etc.)
Menus vary each week to provide participating children with variety.
Who we serve
The BackPack Program serves 1,400 students across the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley’s six county service area. We are currently partnered with 67 schools across 17 school districts in the Hudson Valley. All-in-all, the Food Bank’s BackPack Program covers districts from the New Jersey Border to Plattsburgh, and serves 6,500 students in our 23 county service area (at 238 schools).
Partner schools, click here for the BackPack Toolkit.
The Food Bank’s BackPack Program is now in its thirteenth year, and in that time we have seen the program benefits schools small and large. While some schools have a higher level of need than others, we firmly believe that there are students at every school who would benefit from receiving a weekly BackPack (Feeding America reports that 1 in 8 children are at risk for hunger). The Food Bank is still actively offering participation for the 22-23 school year. To share information about partnering with the Food Bank with schools interested in learning more, we host biweekly virtual information sessions throughout the school year. Please contact the Food Bank using the below information for the dates and times of these sessions and to receive an invitation.
How you can help
To contribute toward the BackPack program, please consider making a cash donation here and choosing “Children’s Programs” from the drop-down menu. We are thankful for your generous support; a donation of $7.60 provides one week of weekend food for a child, while $228.00 provides weekend food over an entire school year for a child. If you wish to designate your donation for a specific school, please include the school name in the Partner Agency Name/Number field (above the PayPal button).
For more information about the BackPack Program, please contact:
Children’s Program Coordinator
Food Bank of the Hudson Valley