Despite the resources of Free and Reduced lunch/breakfast, afterschool snacks, food stamps, and other programs that target hunger there are a significant number of food unstable homes in the Barry county. The Backpack Program targets children who are “chronically hungry” and are at risk of not receiving food over the weekend. Students in need are identified by School staff. With Parents permission, the students are enrolled in the backpack program and assigned a backpack. Using the backpack provided solely for this purpose helps shield the child from any stigma that might be associated with being hungry or receiving food assistance.
On Friday afternoon, the children at risk receive a backpack with food items that are nutritious, kid-friendly, shelf-stable and ready to eat with little or no cooking (some might need to be heated in a microwave). On Monday, the backpacks are returned to be refilled and redistributed at the end of the week.
Our church works with the Wheaton school, by helping provide food items for their backpacks. You can help by either donating money to help purchase the food items or bringing to our church single serving, individually wrapped kid-friendly food items.
Suggested Food Donations:
- 100 percent juice in single-serving unbreakable bottles, boxes or pouches
- Small boxes or bags of nutritious cereal
- Nutritious snack/breakfast bars
- Fruit and Pudding cups
- Small boxes of raisins or dried fruit
- Microwave popcorn
- Nonperishable single-serve microwave kids meals
- Individually packaged crackers