This post is sponsored by Harvesters – The Community Food Network. To learn more, visit www.harvesters.org.
This weekend my kids had six full meals, snacks, more snacks and oh, more snacks. They had no fear that they will open the cabinets or fridge and not see something they could eat.
But for many Kansas City area children, that’s not the case. In fact, 1 in 5 kids in our region can’t count on getting food every time they are hungry. Only 59 percent of the food insecure children qualify for federal nutrition programs such as SNAP (food stamps), WIC or free/reduced-price school meals.
Harvesters, the regional food bank feeding a 26-county area in northeastern Kansas and northwestern Missouri, works to change those statistics.
With the BackSnack program, Harvesters provides food insecure children with a backpack of food to take home every weekend. More than 100,000 children in Harvesters’ service area receive free or reduced-price school meals during the week. But when they go home for the weekend, it’s a different story.
The BackSnack program partners with religious, corporate and civic organizations to prepare the backpacks every week. Community partners pick up the food kits from Harvesters and distribute them to local schools. School principals or counselors determine which children should receive a backpack.
The program started in 2004 with 30 students. Last school year, Harvesters served 20,250 kids each week.
What’s amazing about the program is that not only are kids getting the nutritious food their growing bodies need, but it has positive impacts in other areas of their lives:
- Reports to see the school nurse were reduced by 10 percent.
- Discipline issues by participating students were reduced by 54 percent.
- Children report it is easier to work without help, to understand their teachers and to understand their homework after participating in the BackSnack program.
- Teachers say students’ social skills significantly improve after the BackSnack program. They are friendlier, respectful, responsible, well behaved and participate more in class.
Want to get involved?
Your organization, church or workplace can work with Harvesters to get backpacks in the hands of kids in need by contacting Harvesters.
Your family can provide one child with a BackSnack for an entire year for just $250. Donate now to support this great program that helps our community’s children.