Backpack Buddies’ mission is to reduce the effects of childhood hunger by providing nutritious, easy-to- prepare food over the weekend to children in food-insecure homes in the greater Twin Cities area. The objective is to bridge the gap between Friday and Monday when food may not be available, and thereby provide a bit of security for the participating children and their families.
- Provide 300+ students (first through fifth grades) with a take-home backpack filled with food for use over the weekend.
- Raise awareness in the community of the need.
- Provide nutritional and health and wellness education awareness, along with the food.
In its first year, the Backpack Buddies team identified a local school (Andersen United Community School) that has an overwhelming number of students who qualify for the free and reduced-cost lunch programs. The program started by feeding the first grade glass of roughly 150 students every weekend throughout the school year.
The JLM is fortunate to be an agency of Second Harvest Heartland, the Upper Midwest’s largest hunger-relief organization, which allows for the purchase food at very low cost on a consistent basis.
Now in its fifth year, the JLM works with grades 1-5 at Andersen United Community School.
See how Backpack Buddies make a big difference at Anderson United Community School!
More than 1 out of 6 children lives in a food-insecure household in the U.S. – meaning, they don’t know where their next meal is coming from. We all know the importance of nutrition for physical and mental health. Imagine the consequences of not having enough food – let alone nutritious food – as a child.
Some effects of food insecurity and hunger are:
- A weaker immune system, leading to more illness and more hospitalizations (children in food insecure homes are 30 % more likely to be hospitalized), which in turn is a cost to the family
- Poor academic performance, such as grade repetition, absenteeism, tardiness, anxiety, aggression, poor mathematics scores, psychosocial dysfunction and difficulty with social interaction among 6 to 12 year-old children
- Developmental risks, such as low height for age, and slower cognitive development
If you have any questions or want to get involved, please contact the Backpack Buddies leadership at firstname.lastname@example.org.