What is the Backpack Program?

What is the Backpack Program?

The BackPack Program is designed to alleviate hunger for children who rely on school meals during the week but need food assistance over the weekend

After a long work week, we all look forward to the weekend to rest, be with family and/or friends, and perhaps, go out to eat. However, many children in Los Angeles County go home from school on Friday afternoon to an empty refrigerator, and their families struggle to provide meals over the weekend. And holidays on Mondays make the weekend even longer.

Fortunately, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank’s Backpack Program makes sure children and their families have something to eat over the weekend.

Providing Nutritious Meals to Children in Need

Roughly, the BackPack Program is designed to alleviate hunger for kids who rely on school meals during the week don’t go hungry over the weekend. In 2021, the BackPack Program distributed over 7,760 backpacks containing over 168,510 pounds of food to 850 children at 5 school partners, including schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and Compton Unified School District (CUSD).

Each backpack, distributed monthly on Thursdays or Fridays, contains enough food for at least six nutritious meals. Backpacks are on a rotating menu and may contain 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, and cereal.

A Greater Value to Education

Without programs like these, children will be going to school on an empty stomach, decreasing their ability to learn, and harming their futures. According to the Association of American Colleges and Universities, students who experience food insecurity are more likely to suffer psychological and academic effects, including a decrease in physical and mental health. Food-insecure students are more likely to earn lower grades than their peers and have trouble concentrating and paying attention in class.

Join the fight against hunger!

The BackPack Program could not be possible without the support and generosity of the community. Without your support, many children may go hungry. If you are in a position to do so, consider donating to the Food Bank and supporting programs like the BackPack Program. Just $15 covers the cost of one backpack.

More Stories from the LA Regional Food Bank

From Serving Pancake Breakfasts to Providing Full Meals to Families in Need

The East Side Riders Bike Club in South Los Angeles has been providing food to their community throughout the pandemic. Learn more here.

Holiday Staples, Including Turkeys, at Food Pantries as Prices Rise

Holiday staples, such as turkeys, have increased in price. Learn more on how the Food Bank prepared for the upcoming holiday season.

The LA Regional Food Bank Surveys College Students on Food Insecurity

In 2022, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank surveyed neighbors at four community college pantries across the County. Learn more here.

Stater Bros.’ Harvesting Hope Campaign to Benefit the LA Regional Food Bank

Stater Bros. Charities kicked off its annual Harvesting Hope Campaign to help address food insecurity. Learn more here.

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