We began our Weekend Hunger Backpack Program over 10 years ago in response to the growing issue of children, approximately 1 in 5, in our area, who are at risk for experiencing food insecurity. We started with a hand full of schools and limited number of students. We worked with nutritionists at the University of Florida to select healthy kid-friendly foods that are easy to prepare. Each backpack contained six meals, juice boxes and snacks.
By the early 2020’s we were in 21 schools in Alachua Country and providing food to over 800 students. We experienced some decline in the number of students enrolled in our program when the COVID 19 crisis impacted our area with school closures.
As our community moves towards recovery and prices for food continue to rise, we anticipate an increased need for our program. We are thrilled to announce that for the first time we are making our Weekend Hunger Backpack Program available outside of Alachua County. We began providing service to schools in Bradford County as of January.
On behalf of the children we can now reach, we offer our heartfelt thanks to all of our donors and community partners whose support and generosity helped make this new outreach possible.