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

Building Hope Campaign Update and Donor Spotlight on Jill and Donald Spuehler

The Spuehlers became involved with the Food Bank more than 20 years ago, and during that time, they have helped provide enough food for 600,000 meals to those struggling with food insecurity in our community.

How the Food Bank helps families with CalFresh and Food Assistance

CalFresh benefits thousands of families, but when the benefits deplete, the LA Regional Food Bank is there to help. Learn more here.

How the BackPack Program Supports Generations

1 in 4 children in LA County don’t know where their next meal is coming from. The Food Bank’s BackPack Program helps alleviate this problem. Learn more.

The LA Regional Food Bank’s Free Summer Meal Program Will Provide Daily Nutritious Meals to About 2,200 Food-Insecure Kids in LA County

The LA Regional Food Bank will serve lunch and breakfast to children in need through the USDA’s extension of the Summer Meal Program this summer. Read more.

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