ABOUT THE PROGRAM
While every child has access to nutritious breakfast and lunch during school, the same cannot be said for weekends and school breaks. The Backpack Buddies program was developed to help ensure that every child in the Bemidji school district has access to nutritious, non-perishable and easy-to-prepare food at times when other resources are not available, such as weekends and school vacations. The intended results of the program are:
1) children will no longer experience hunger or food insecurities; and,
2) their attendance, behavior, academics, social interaction, health and attention span will improve.
Goal: Decrease the number of children that exhibit behaviors indicating and resulting from food insecurity and hunger
Target: After 6 months of being enrolled in the program, 75% of the participants will show a decrease in behaviors that indicate food insecurity and hunger and an improvement in at least one of the following: social interaction, attention span, physical and mental health, academics and attendance.
The food packs: The
program provides backpacks filled with food that is child
friendly, nonperishable and easily consumed free of charge.
Average weekly menu: 2 entrees, 1 snack, 2 breakfast items, 1
vegetable, 2 fruits, and 2 milks, and 1 high protein. The
pre-packaged bags are purchased at around $3.18 each through
North Country Food Bank.
Did you know?
Poverty is a leading indicator to food insecurity and
impacts nearly 1 in 5 children.
"Our concern and support for our families extends beyond the school day. It is not uncommon for many of our students to return to school on Monday morning and report that their last meal was school lunch the previous Friday. Although a typical two-day weekend is certainly an issue, the extended holiday and summer breaks pose an additional problem with increased family stress and financial insecurity. The students return to school hungry, frustrated, tired, and unprepared to face a full day of school. Their ability to learn is greatly impaired and the typical behavior of a tired and hungry child adds to the problem. Their ability to cope with socialization, follow directions, and simply enjoy their childhood is directly connected to the long lasting effects of poverty and hunger." - Pat Welte, Principal JW Smith and Central Elementary