Imagine being a child, coming home from school, to an empty house, with no food to eat, no one to help make dinner, and you are hungry.
We did imagine this. Which is why we have Snack Packs.
Based on feedback from participants and schools, we have launched a new Snack Pack program to replace our Backpack Club. The new program still offers meals for kids but also provides more healthy snacks that kids can take home and enjoy all week long and between meals. Snack Packs are distributed through the social workers at each of Blaine County’s 8 public schools on Thursdays.
How Does It Work?
- Students are identified by teachers and social workers,
or enrolled directly by their parents.
- Teams of volunteers from the community spend Tuesday
afternoons stuffing Snack Packs.
- In addition to our traditional backpack food, we have
added steel cut oats, sunflower seeds, pudding, fruit
leather, raisins, granola bars, crackers with cheese, and
100% fruit or vegetable juice.
- Thursday morning, another team of volunteers takes the
packs to each of Blaine County’s eight public schools.
- Social workers and teachers distribute the packs to the
students in the program.
Do you have a child you would like to enroll?
Contact your school social worker or the Blaine County
School District at 578-5000, or call The Hunger Coalition at 788-0121.
“I’m disabled and have custody of my three grandsons. We live on my social security benefits, food stamps and child support, which is very sporadic, so we make due with my $828 a month. The backpack program helped out a lot when all food stamp money was gone. Thanks so much for what you’ve provided weekly.”
~ Backpack Club Parent
Why Do We Need Snack Packs? The tragic implications of childhood hunger include chronic health problems and a decrease in learning potential, academic achievement, and employment potential. Children who experience hunger regularly cannot focus and do not have sufficient energy or stamina. They are not experiencing childhood; they are experiencing hunger.
With special thanks to Good Works Institute and Idaho Food Bank for their support in keeping local children fed and healthy during the 2017-2018 school year:
In 1995, an Arkansas school nurse observed children returning after weekend breaks with dizziness and stomachaches. When she realized the source of the “illness” was actually hunger, she partnered with a local hunger relief organization to start the first backpack program. Now there are examples of these programs all over the nation, started by food relief organizations in response to reports from schools about children going hungry over the weekends. Teachers and school nurses describe children eating extra food on Fridays in preparation for a weekend without food and returning to school on Monday, voraciously eating the breakfast provided.
Research and conventional wisdom tell us how important proper nutrition is to children’s physical growth, mental development, and ability to concentrate and perform in school. They can suffer from physical, mental and emotional problems, sometimes experiencing permanent damage. They often struggle with disciplinary and performance issues in school, which has a lasting effect on their ability to receive a higher education, to find living-wage paying jobs, and to escape the cycle of hunger and poverty that trapped them at an early age.