Backpack programs exist through food banks all across the country. The program began in Little Rock, Arkansas, when a school nurse asked for help because hungry kids were coming to her with stomach aches and dizziness. The local food bank began providing children with food to carry home.
The Backpack Program is one of the national programs and services provided through Feeding America. Currently, over 130 Feeding America member food banks are operating backpack programs in 41 states and Washington, D.C.
Many children in Iowa rely on resources such as the federal free or reduced-price school meal program during the school year. The Backpack Program provides snacks of healthy, kid-friendly food to low-income children on weekends and school breaks, when they do not have access to the federal free and reduced-price meal programs.
The contents of the sacks vary each week, but contain a variety of items such as pop-top meals or soup, 100% juice, single-serve cereal, fruit cups, peanut butter, and shelf-stable 2% milk.
Many thanks to the John Deere Foundation for their generous support of our Backpack Program at the Food Bank of Southern Iowa.
1 out of every 6 children in Iowa under age 18 are food insecure.
Food insecure families do not have enough food to fully meet their basic needs at all times.