While most students look forward to the weekend, many kids worry about how they‘ll eat without the breakfasts and lunches provided at school. One solution is to start a backpack program.
These programs come in all shapes and sizes, but they all revolve around the idea of providing kids with easily accessible food to last through the weekend. This past year, we were able to secure a grant from Morgan Stanley to help two of these agencies expand their important backpack programs.
Eatonville Family Agency
Eatonville typically provides 50-60 kids with backpacks each week of every school year. But with this additional funding, they’re on track to serve 90 kids per week! The biggest challenge for this program is the expense of the food used to fill each backpacks. Individually packaged meals and snacks cost more than larger or bulk items, so Eatonville is always looking for ways to get more food for less money.
Despite the challenges, the Eatonville program is working. Recently, two Eatonville grandparents were able to get the help they desperately needed. The seniors were recently awarded custody of their grandchildren, but due to their limited income they were worried about being able to provide food for the children. Thanks to the Eatonville Backpack program, the children now receive bags of food every Friday. Not only do the kids get to go to school with a full tummy after the weekend, the family is now able to make ends meet.
Thurston County Food Bank
Thurston County Food Banks’s Forkids BackPack program also continues to grow. With help from the Morgan Stanley grant, they now serve 1600 to 1900 kids a week. The food bank is also able to increase the amount of fresh vegetables and fruit distributed by adding two fresh produce bags to their rotation. The additional funding also makes it possible for them to send out larger back packs of food over the Thanksgiving and Winter school breaks.
One child told his teacher that he looks forward to Fridays, they are better than Christmas.
Thanks to Morgan Stanley for providing these grants. Money that is making a big difference for two of our member agencies.