Right now, many of us are already in the midst of planning our recipes for Thanksgiving. But all over the country there are thousands of children who are not only unlikely to get a holiday feast, but may not even have anything to eat during the four day weekend that many of us spend stuffed to the brim with turkey. Feeding America, the awesome organization I told you about recently, has a program in place to address that need and make sure these children have nutritious food available to them while they’re home from school. Wondering how you can make a difference? Read on!
This one’s really close to my heart people. One of the recipients of the employing giving campaign at the City of Auburn this year is our local backpack program! We even found a way to make our fundraiser go twice as far. Our department sold holiday pies, and the proceeds go to the backpack program. People could take their pies home or donate them to provide pies for the giant turkey dinner held at my church for the hundreds of people in need in our community. Today I dropped 25 pies off at church, and will have another 20 more to deliver at the end of the week!
You may wonder why I care so much about the backpack program. In my school district, there are several schools with as many as 90% of the students on free or reduced lunch. For most of those children, that’s often their only meal of the day. On weekends, and especially long holiday weekends, too many children are forced to go hungry. That’s where the Backpack Program comes in.
“PACK ’til they’re BACK!” is an effort by Feeding America and their network of more than 200 food banks to:
· Ensure that children at risk of hunger have plenty to eat over the long Thanksgiving break.
· Bring attention to the fact that more than 16 million children live in food insecure household in the United States.
· Promote Feeding America’s BackPack Program to the public to garner support and donations to expand the program to reach more kids.
There are nearly 5,000 distribution locations at schools and after school programs. The backpacks are given discreetly so children don’t feel singled out.
Each backpack contains nutritious food that’s easily prepared and requires no cooking.
Wanna get involved?
-Use Feeding America’s Food Bank Locator to contact your local food bank and find out about helping with BackPack programs in your community.
-Start a food drive in your area asking for HEALTHY food donations like boxes of milk, fruit cups, cans of stew, chili or soup that can be microwaved, cereal, breakfast bars, apple sauce or sliced pears. Then donate the food to your local food bank!
-Find out if your local food bank has a backpack program. If they don’t, ask how you can help get one started!
-Donate your time at your local food bank.
-Donate money to Feeding America or your local food bank.
Also, check out the video below and visit FeedingAmerica.org to watch more videos about the incredible impact of the Backpack Program.
I love that so many of you are as passionate about ending child hunger as I am. Let me know in the comments if you’d like any more information about Feeding America and how you can make a difference. I’d also love to hear any ways that you’re already working to end child hunger in America!