BackPack Program

A Good Idea


The BackPack program provides backpacks filled with non-perishable, child-friendly and nutritious food to children who are food insecure. The backpack is discretely distributed to students before weekends and school holidays so that children who have their nutritional needs met through other programs, such as the National School Lunch Program, do not go hungry when those resources are not available. The program operates through the Feeding America network of local food banks.

The concept behind the BackPack program was developed by a school nurse and the Arizona Rice Depot, a local food bank; the nurse noticed that students were coming to her with symptoms of hunger, dizziness and stomachaches, and solicited help from the local food bank to deliver non-descript grocery bags to the hungry students.

The BackPack program will also provide food to siblings of the recipient student and pack backpacks before summer holidays and extended vacations when students do not have access to free or reduced-price meals.

Goal / Mission

The mission of the BackPack program is to provide food to hungry children at times when other resources are not available, such as weekends and school vacations.

Results / Accomplishments

In 2009, 190,000 children were served by the BackPack program. There are currently 3,600 BackPack programs operating across the United States.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Economy / Poverty
Economy / Government Assistance Programs
Social Environment / Volunteerism & Charitable Donations
Feeding America
For more details
Target Audience
Children, Families
Additional Audience
underserved populations