The Food Bank of Delaware’s Backpack Program provides food to children in need for weekends and holidays when school is not in session and federal school meal programs are not available. Backpacks are stocked with kid-friendly, nutritious food including shelf-stable milk and juice, meals such as macaroni and cheese, spaghetti and meatballs and beef stew, granola bars, apple sauce, cereal and more. They are distributed on Fridays or the last day before a holiday or vacation in a discreet manner at schools.

To learn more about the Backpack Program, please contact Kerry Rafferty O’Connell at koconnell@fbd.org or (302) 292-1305 ext 232.

Program Objectives:

  • Provide children at-risk of hunger with nutritious, easy-to-prepare food for preparation and consumption at home
  • Distribute food within safe sites that offer easy access to the children being served
  • Involve additional resources and partners in order to assure sustainability of the program

Program Outcomes:

  • Reduce health problems in children served by mitigating negative consequences of under nutrition
  • Remove the barrier of hunger that contributes to poor school performance
  • Empower school personnel to take direct action to benefit hungry children
  • Increase awareness among parents and guardians of resources available to low-income families in their community
  • Increase awareness of positive nutrition to students’ families

Food and informational flyers for the backpacks are packed by volunteers, and the Food Bank of Delaware delivers the bags to participating sites weekly. Site staff stores the bags in a secure area until distribution day. Meals are packed for children in plastic bags. School officials discreetly insert the bags into children’s backpacks before the weekend or holiday break. Dependent upon availability, pencils, school supplies and small toys are also distributed in the take-home bags.

It costs approximately $168 to provide one child with weekend and holiday food for a whole school year.  This includes the cost of the backpack, food for each week, supplies, transportation and program administration.

Feedback from educators:

“Many displaced and low-income families this year. More than in years past. It is very helpful and the kids are so very thankful. I have also gotten several thank you letters from parents of how it is helping the family.”

“A student constantly tells me how thankful he is to have the Backpack program. He shares his food with his little sister since she does not qualify due to her age (4) and her grad level (pre-k). She eats all of his mac and cheese. He wishes there was more to go around.”

Have questions about donating to the Backpack Program? Please call Larry Haas, Development Director, at  (302) 294-0185 or email him at lhaas@fbd.org.