Learning begins when hunger ends. One in four children in Oklahoma lives in households that are struggling to put food on the table.
Through the Backpack Program, which is part of the Food for Kids Programs, children receive a backpack full of kid-friendly, non-perishable and nutritious food on Friday to sustain them over weekends and school holidays.
Last year, the Regional Food Bank saw a dramatic increase in the need for food assistance. In total, the Backpack Program served 19,051 chronically hungry elementary school students attending 481 schools.
The Regional Food Bank delivers pre-assembled food sacks and backpacks to participating schools at no cost to the school or the child. The food bags contain approximately 10 different purchased foods designed to provide nutrition and calories for chronically hungry children over the weekend.
The Regional Food Bank launched the Backpack Program in 2003 after learning about a student who passed out while waiting in the school lunch line because he had very little to eat at home over the weekend. The pilot program originally served 180 chronically hungry children in 5 Oklahoma City elementary schools.
Together, we are feeding Oklahoma’s future. A $100 donation provides a backpack of food for one child for an entire school year. Through the Food for Kids Match campaign, a $100 donation will provide meals for two children for an entire year in a Food for Kids Program. Click here to make a donation or call 405.600.3136.
This program is vital to help students like Terrance have enough to eat over the weekend. Terrance is an active third grader who lists physical education as his favorite subject. He said if he didn’t receive a backpack each week, he wouldn’t have any food to eat over the weekend.
“We are very poor,” said Terrance. “I’m just really hungry all the time. It’s really thoughtful that people give money for the backpacks. It helps a lot to have that food because we’re always starving.”