Nearly 20,000 school aged children in Chester County qualify for free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program and the National School Breakfast Program. For many of these children, school meals may be the only meals they eat. What happens when they go home over the weekend?
The Chester County Food Bank’s Weekend Backpack Program helps children get the nutritious and easy-to-prepare food they need to get enough to eat on the weekends. At the discretion of school officials, food is offered to not only students eligible for free or reduced meals, but also to students who fall within the gap of ineligibility for the school meal subsidy programs. Many are experiencing food-insecurity due to life changing emergencies such as a parent’s sudden job loss or an illness.
Volunteers pack resealable bags with a rotating variety of shelf stable food items that the Food Bank distributes weekly, October through May, to ten (out of 13) school districts in Chester County, including after-school programs and Head Start sites. With your help, we can provide more food to more children in need.
I had a student that lived in our school district during the week but went to live with his mom in another district on the weekends. Food was scarce when he visited on the weekends and sometimes he went without. The backpack provided food for meals and snacks for him and his mom on the weekends.
– Elementary School Guidance Counselor