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Food for Kids Backpack Program yet to Reach Dewey County

Program Provides Food to Hungry Children

February 20, 2012

OKLAHOMA CITY - More than 24 percent of the children in Dewey County will wonder where their next meal will come from.  However, there is hope in the form of a backpack for these children through the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma’s Food For Kids Backpack Program.

The Regional Food Bank is eager to bring the Backpack Program to Dewey County.  According to research, Seiling, Taloga and Vici Elementary Schools could benefit from this program to help fight childhood hunger in the county.

The Food for Kids Backpack Program was created in response to hearing a firsthand account of an Oklahoma City elementary student who fainted on a Monday morning, while waiting in the school lunch line, due to lack of food over the weekend. The program was launched in 2003 with five Oklahoma City schools and served 180 children.  Currently, the program serves more than 11,000 kids in 467 schools across 52 of the 53 counties the Regional Food Bank serves.

Handed out every Friday, the pre-assembled bags contain ten to twelve different foods designed to provide nutrition and calories for chronically hungry kids on the weekend. These are kid-friendly foods that require no preparation and no adult supervision, such as peanut butter and crackers, cereal, and beef stew in a pop-top can. The impact of the program can be seen in every school the program serves. Improved school performance, decreased absenteeism, and better concentration in class are just a few of the benefits school administrators and program coordinators have experienced.

For just $200, the Regional Food Bank can provide one child with a backpack of food every weekend for the entire school year.

“A teacher noticed a student in her class asking for extra food on a daily basis and referred him to our Backpack Program,” said a Food for Kids Coordinator.  “That same week, our students celebrated 100 days of school.  The teacher asked her students to think of 100 things they would wish for.  Some students wished for 100 video games, 100 pieces of candy; but this child wished for 100 days where ‘food fell from the sky’.”

The Backpack Program strives to give participating children the power to learn and grow independently, and provide hope for their future, thereby giving them the opportunity to become well-adjusted and involved Oklahoma citizens. For just $200, the Regional Food Bank can provide one child with a backpack of food every weekend for the entire school year.

If you are interested in starting Food for Kids at your school or have a question about the program, please contact Erin Cox at ecox@regionalfoodbank.org or 405.600.3159.

The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is a private, 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization that acts as a link through which the food industry and community may donate food and other goods. The products are then distributed to nearly 825 schools and charitable feeding programs in 53 central and western Oklahoma counties. In fiscal year 2011, the Food Bank distributed 46.2 million pounds of food and product to help the charitable community effectively feed people in need. Since its inception in 1980, the Food Bank has distributed more than 430 million pounds of food to feed Oklahoma’s hungry.

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