The Weekend Hunger Backpack Program was designed to supplement meals for children, who depend on their school for breakfast and lunch, during the school week. The program identifies chronically hungry children who are in need of nutritional assistance over the weekend. Volunteers fill the backpacks during the week to be taken home on Friday with enough food for the child and their siblings for the weekend. In Alachua County, one in four children don’t have enough food to eat each day. Lack of access to a nutritious and adequate food supply has implications not only for the development of physical and mental disease, but also behavior and social skills. Food insecurity has been linked with diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular problems, higher levels of anxiety and aggression. It has also been correlated with slower development of social skills.
Our program strives to reverse these consequences by providing over 700 children each week with the food they need to be healthy, happy and successful.
On average, it costs about $6.00 to feed a child over the weekend.
WEEKEND HUNGER BACKPACK FOOD DRIVE SHOPPING LIST
Please make food donations between August 1 and May 28 of each school year to avoid waste and spoilage. Cash donation can be made year round to cover cost for purchase of new and replacement of damaged backpacks.
The foods below were recommended by local nutritionists and food pantries as “kid- friendly” nutritious food items that are easy for a child to carry (no glass please). The “Wish list” is provided to help guide your search for food. However, these are ONLY suggestions. We WILL accept other food not included on this list.
Chili w/ Beans
Macaroni & Cheese
Snacks (individual size)
Pudding & Jell-O Packs