Backpack meals help cash-strapped families deal with stress

March 5, 2024

It’s amazing how a little can of raviolis, a box of juice,  and a few graham crackers can make a big difference in a child’s life. At Brader Elementary School in the Christina School District, Backpacks – or weekend meal bags – help students – and their families — get through the weekend.

Backpacks are stocked with kid-friendly, nutritious food including shelf stable milk and juice, pop-top cans, macaroni and cheese, apple sauce, cereal and more. Alexis Ridgeway, the school’s counselor, has seen an increase in participation this year based on last year’s records; 46 students out of 320 enrolled in the Title 1 school serving kindergarten through grade 5 participate in the program.

Our Backpack Program provides weekend meals to 8,377 students statewide each week. This special program touches children and families by discreetly providing food to at-risk children for weekends and holidays when school is not in session or federal school meal programs are not available.

To help raise money for the program, we will be participating in Delaware’s day of giving, Do More 24! This year’s Do More 24 runs from 6 p.m. March 7 through 6 p.m. March 8; our goal is to raise $37,000.

“Parents and students seek it out, and they are excited to get them,” said Ridgeway.

The Backpacks, Ridgeway notes, are convenient for parents. “They . . . take the stress out of thinking about food for their child for the weekends. It is great that every child in the household can receive one, and it provides options for snacks, breakfast, and lunches or dinners.”

Ridgeway says her students also like receiving the backpacks. “I don’t see any stigma. This is a really great program.”

Last year,  our Do More 24 donors helped us raise more than $35,000 to support the Food Bank’s Backpack Program. This year, we hope to provide even more backpacks so no child in Delaware ever has to go hungry when school is not in session. Visit to learn more about Do More 24 and our Backpack Program.

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