Champions are the people or organizations that care for and believe in our community’s youth. The Food Bank of the Southern Tier is recognized as a local American Graduate Champion by WSKG for its work on the BackPack Program. The Backpack Program began in 2005 with the mission of filling the gap left on weekends when children are not able to access meals through the National School Breakfast and School Lunch Programs.
During the 2014-2015 school year, the BackPack Program™ served 41 school districts in Broome, Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga, and Tompkins counties. Over 2,500 children received packs each week. A total of 89,783 packs were distributed. Here are a few highlights from the BackPack Program’s 2014-2015 Executive Summary:
“I liked getting this because we don’t have much food at home.” -Kindergarten student
“Our school very much appreciated the food provided to our students. There is less hunger in our community due to this program. Our children need the extra food you provide. Thank you so very much!” – School District Coordinator
Based on teacher feedback, ‘mood, energy levels, health, and alertness’ are the areas that students improved in after receiving the BackPacks.
Based on parent feedback, people who ate the food in the BackPack broke down as follows:
55% Whole Family
36% Shared Among My Children
9% Just the Child Who Got It
When participants were asked, ‘What did you like best about being in the BackPack Program?’:
“Being able to help with food for my family.”
“Having food to eat when I needed it.”
“Someone cared about helping us.”
Congratulations to the Food Bank of the Southern Tier for this honor! To learn more about the BackPack Program contact Jennifer Edger, Director of Community Programs 607.796.6061 x4027.