Our BackPack Program ensures that children who rely on school meals don't go hungry over the weekend.
Our BackPack Program ensures that children who rely on school meals don’t go hungry over the weekend.
We select our schools based on the percentage of the student population who qualifies for free and reduced priced meals. Between 82 percent and 95 percent of student populations of BackPack schools qualify for these meal programs.
We also select our schools based on their participation in the Network for Healthy California, a public health initiative that empowers low-income families to adopt healthy lifestyle practices that reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
The food is purchased so our Children’s Nutrition team can carefully plan nutritionally balanced and kid-friendly meals, with an emphasis on fresh produce.
Backpacks contain the following nutritious foods on a rotating menu: low-fat milk, 100% juice, oatmeal, peanut butter, whole grain pasta, spaghetti sauce, pancake mix, macaroni and cheese, brown rice, vegetable beef soup, black beans, and chunk chicken or tuna. Fresh produce and bread is packaged separately the day before distribution and included in the backpacks. Nutrition education and handouts for the children and their families are important components of the program as they stress the importance of maintaining a balanced diet while facing food insecurity.
In 2017, our BackPack Program distributed 36,240 packs containing 475,467 pounds of food to 1,258 children at 10 elementary schools in Los Angeles and Compton Unified School Districts over the course of 303 distributions. The backpacks contained enough food for six nutritious meals to ensure that each child did not go hungry over the weekend.