The Backpack Snack Program provides weekend meals to school kids in the City/County Schools who need assistance.
We celebrate Backpack Snack Awareness. By filling a child’s backpack with ready-to-eat meals and snacks for the weekend we help fill their stomachs and thereby prevent hunger. In 2006/2007 school year Pam Tate, an elementary school Family Resource Youth Service Center (FRYSC) Coordinator began to receive word that several children were routinely requesting extra food at lunch, returning after the lunch period to ask for leftovers and were frequently coming to her office requesting additional snacks. These repetitive scenarios began to bring forth the question, what is happening at home to elicit these requests from school children?
According to Pam, “With food assistance provided by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, I felt sure these children were not going without food. However, it is evident that there are families that either qualify for bare minimum assistance, or make just over the income guidelines to qualify for government programs. The end result for many families facing these dilemmas is parents making choices to take second or third jobs in the evening and leaving the child at home to prepare meals for themselves.” For Pam, being in the school system and a FRYSC Coordinator, it became clear that these families could use extra support.
After researching several national food assistance programs, Frankfort/Franklin County chose to pilot a Backpack Snacks Program (BSP). Through the FRYSCs in all public schools healthy meals and snacks that require little or no preparation are made available during the weekends to families that are having difficulty providing for their children.
Here’s how it works: The FRYSC identifies families based on school staff referrals. Each Friday a backpack is filled with enough healthy meals and snacks for the student to have at home when they get hungry. On Monday, the student will return the backpack to the FRYSC to be replenished the following weekend. Given that all foods are secured within a backpack, children participating in the program are in no way singled out as receiving food assistance.
The program began with 6 participating families and at the close of last school year over 200 children were receiving BSP assistance weekly. It is anticipated that these numbers will continue to grow as we embark on year seven. All public schools within our community participate in the BSP from kindergarten through high school.
All food and backpacks are provided by donations from individuals, clubs, businesses, civic organizations and churches. Pam states, “The BSP is only as strong as the support it receives.” There are several ways you can participate as an individual or organization: Packing meals in backpacks for weekly distribution. Contact Angie at APBlack3@aol.com or 502-875-4538.
* Bulk food donation drop-offs can be scheduled through Diana Geddes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 502-330-3277.
* Monetary donations can be made to the Backpack Snack Program, c/o Pam Tate, 300 Copperleaf Blvd, Frankfort, KY 40601.
Check out our facebook page! Backpack Snacks of Frankfort/Franklin County