There are 13,000 school age children in Chester County that rely on the free or reduced lunch programs through the school. But when the weekend arrives, they are not sure if there will be food to eat.
In these hard economic times, we see so many families struggling to afford food. The stress on parents is unthinkable; to not have enough food to feed your child is heartbreaking. Food is a basic need for everyone but especially for growing children. Childhood nutrition is so critical to their mental and physical development.
Our Food Backpack Program is helping 1,000 children, mostly kindergarteners, so they don’t have to skip meals over the weekend or face two days without food. The Food Bank purchases all of the food for the backpacks to ensure an adequate amount of food for each pack, to be able to keep the packs at 7lbs. so it can be carried by a young child and so that the packs are nutritionally balanced. This makes the backpacks the most expensive program for the Food Bank.
Each week of backpacks is a different menu and includes items such as:
- Protein - Peanut Butter, pouches or small cans of tuna, chicken or beef
- Fruits & Vegetables - Fruit Cups packed in 100% juice, 100% fruit juice boxes
- Grains - Healthy Cereal (12 – 16 oz.), Macaroni & Cheese, pouches of Pasta Sides, pouches of Pasta Meals, Ready Rice Boxed grains
- Healthy Snacks - Raisins or dried fruit, Yogurt Cereal Bars, Fruit Filled Cereal Bars, Fruit Roll-Ups, Granola Bars, Crackers
- Dairy - Shelf-stable milk (Parmalat)
On Fridays during the school year, we deliver the backpacks to participating local elementary schools in the county. Volunteers & teachers at the school distribute the packs to the qualifying children. Teachers are so grateful for this program and tell us how the kids ask every week if they are getting food to take home. Educators know that a child facing hunger is unequipped to learn.
With your help, we can reach more families in need.
Your monetary donation will help us buy the food for the backpacks and help to feed children and families in Chester County. Click on our DONATE button to make a donation now OR send a check make payable to the Chester County Food Bank at 650 Pennsylvania Dr., Exton PA 19341.