The goal of the Backpack Program is to help alleviate child hunger in Weld County 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. Many children rely on free or reduced-priced school breakfast and lunch to meet their nutritional needs during the week. These same children become vulnerable to hunger over the weekend when they can not access those resources.
Weld Food Bank works with the school districts to identify the kids who are most in need of food over the weekend. The program provides backpacks filled with food that is child-friendly, non-perishable, and easily-consumed. Backpacks are discreetly distributed to children on the last day before the weekend or holiday vacation. In fiscal year 2015-2016, Weld Food Bank and our partner agencies distributed 22,114 backpacks. We are currently distributing backpacks in Greeley, Evans, Windsor, Pierce, Ft. Lupton, Milliken, Lochbouie, Hudson, LaSalle, Gilcrest, Platteville, Frederick, Firestone, and Dacono.
A typical backpack would include the following items:
- at least one breakfast item
- one shelf stable milk
- at least one fruit item (typically juice or applesauce)
- at least one meal (this is for protein and we are sometimes able to provide another source of protein such as jerky)
- at least 3-4 snack items (we follow the CACFP guidelines for this in that the snacks we give need to have enriched wheat flour or some kind of wheat as the first ingredient unless the snack item is nuts or seeds).