Backpack Program

One in five kids in Nebraska and western Iowa under the age of 18 is at-risk for hunger. The BackPack Program is designed to provide food for hungry children at times when other resources are not available, such as during weekends and school vacations.

Staff members at local elementary schools identify chronically hungry students and then Food Bank for the Heartland supplies bags filled with child-friendly, nonperishable food for those children to take home on Friday afternoons. Each bag provides two breakfast meals and two lunch or dinner meals. They are delivered to participating schools by dedicated Food Bank for the Heartland volunteers and staff members.

Our BackPack Program launched in the fall of 2006 with just three schools participating, and today we are distributing nearly 3,900 backpacks each week in 80 schools from 26 school districts across Nebraska and western Iowa. Nationally, there were more than 3,600 BackPack Programs that provided much-needed food to over 190,000 children in 2009. To learn more, please contact Ericka Smrcka, Director of Programs & Advocacy at Food Bank for the Heartland at 402.905.4803.

With the rising cost of living expenses, more and more families are struggling to make ends meet. A gift of $168 provides one child a weekend backpack for the entire school year. Learn more about sponsoring a child's backpack by contacting Brian Barks, Director of Development & PR, at 402.905.4808.

BackPack Resources for Schools