MCHPP Backpack Program

Delivering backpacks of supplemental food each week to children with food insecurity
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About The Backpack Program…

Every Monday morning, over a thousand students in the greater-Brunswick area arrive at school hungry. They leave school on Friday afternoon and simply don’t have enough food at home to provide the nutrition they need on the weekend. It affects their ability to concentrate. It affects their ability to learn. It affects their ability to do all the things many others take for granted. It doesn’t have to be this way. For around $5 a week, we can supply a student and their family with enough food to get through the weekend so they don’t go hungry. Over 80,000 children in the State of Maine qualify for free or reduced lunch through the National School Lunch Program; over 2,500 qualify in MCHPP’s service area. In the fall of 2013 MCHPP launched our BackPack Program in a number of Elementary Schools in our service area. This program is designed to reach students who have food insecurity over the weekend, when the National School Lunch Program is not available. Since then, the program has expanded into more Elementary Schools as well as several Middle Schools and High School. Each week during the school year MCHPP delivers nutritious and easy to prepare food to children with food insecurity. A team of volunteers assembles the bags of food each Tuesday evening in our Food Bank. Then, on Thursday morning, volunteers deliver the bags to schools in the area.

Volunteer for the Backpack Program

Currently MCHPP is looking for volunteers to help package the backpack bags on Tuesday evenings from 5pm-7pm. This is a fantastic opportunity for groups who cannot volunteer during our normal business hours. To inquire about becoming a delivery volunteer, or for more information on the program, contact our BackPack Program volunteer coordinator at backpack@mchpp.org.

The three children in my classroom who get the bags do not have to be reminded to leave their backpacks in the classroom [sic] they can be filled with food. They very much need the food and look forward to it each week like a birthday gift.

Anonymous

Teacher

The students have expressed gratitude- there are sometimes conflicts over food at their homes and they’ve expressed the power of stress reduction of not fighting with parents or guardians when they want more food than is available

Anonymous

Teacher

%

of parent respondents found the program easy to participate in

%

of student respondents said they could fix the foods in the backpack themselves

%

of parent respondents felt the program helped improve their child’s school achievement

%

of parent respondents felt the program helped them stretch their food budget

Example Backpacks of Food

Backpack 1

  • Whole Wheat Spaghetti (1)
  • Canned Pasta Sauce (1)
  • Canned Mixed Vegetable (1)
  • Canned Chicken (1)
  • Sunbutter Cup (2)
  • Individual Shelf Stable Milk (1)
  • Fruit Tubes (2)
  • Oatmeal Pouches (2)
  • Applesauce (1)

Backpack 2

  • 1 lb. Brown Rice (1)
  • Canned Chicken Rice Soup (1)
  • Canned Carrot (1)
  • Canned Chicken (1)
  • Sunbutter Cup (2)
  • Individual Shelf Stable Milk (1)
  • Fruit Tubes (2)
  • Oatmeal Pouches (2)
  • Applesauce (1)

Backpack 3

  • Whole Wheat Elbows (1)
  • Canned Vegetable Soup (1)
  • Canned Mixed Vegetable (1)
  • Canned Kidney Beans (1)
  • Sunbutter Cup (2)
  • Individual Shelf Stable Milk (1)
  • Fruit Tubes (2)
  • Oatmeal Pouches (2)
  • Applesauce (1)

Backpack 4

  • Whole Wheat Pancake Mix (1)
  • Canned Green Beans (1)
  • Canned Maine Blueberries (1)
  • Sunbutter Cup (2)
  • Individual Shelf Stable Milk (1)
  • Fruit Tubes (2)
  • Oatmeal Pouches (2)
  • Applesauce (1)

“Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless.” –Sherry Anderson