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The BackPack Food Program

The BackPack Food Program was featured as Greater Mankato Area United Way's 2011 Initiative.  This program was brought to our community in a collaboration between Feeding our Communities Partners (FOCP), United Way, and the Mankato Public Schools.   Food packs are discreetly placed in a child’s own backpack before weekends and holiday breaks.   Students are voluntarily enrolled by parents and with encouragement from teachers. The program was piloted in Spring 2010 in a Mankato Public Elementary School and will be expanded to additional schools over the upcoming years.

In 2012, United Way increased funding to the BackPack Food Program, enabling FOCP to expand the program to more area schools and to include more children in need of food.  In the Spring 2010 pilot, the program fed 41 children in grades K-3 at Franklin Elementary.  By Spring 2012, this program will serve 425 children grades K-6 at Franklin, Jefferson, Kennedy and Rosa Parks and Washington Elementary schools, decreasing children's hunger and increasing their health, well-being and chances of school success.

Making the case for Hunger in our Community: Volunteers pack food packs for the program

  • 11.5% of children in Blue Earth County live at or below federal poverty line
  • 25% of Mankato residents live at or below federal poverty line
  • 1 in 3 children in ISD 77 are enrolled in the National School Lunch Program (this is 80% increase over the last 10 years)
  • 2.62 million missing meals in Blue Earth County each year  The impact of hunger on kids:
  • Studies show that hunger has a significant impact on a child’s emotional health, like aggression and anxiety
  • Increased academic, behavioral and emotional problems
  • Inability to focus and behave, having a domino effect on other children Outcomes of Spring 2010 Pilot:
  • 40 children received more than 563 weekend food packs during the 2010 pilot
  • 87% of parents say the program improved their child’s overall well-being
  • 69% of teachers reported some improvement in students’ ability to concentrate
  • 75% of teachers reported some or much improvement in their students’ emotional well-being

Click here to visit Feeding our Communities Partners' website to read more about this important program

Click here to watch our 2011 Campaign Video featuring the BackPack Food Program.

Click here to view a sample nutrition newsletter which is included in the weekend food packs.


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