The Boys & Girls Club of Richland County Backpack Program supplies up to 75 backpacks filled with kid friendly, healthy meals and snacks for kids in need on a weekly basis during the school year.
The project provides food backpacks for elementary children in need. They piloted a program last year with approximately 30 elementary students in Richland County. These children were chosen by collaborating with schools in the area that were at risk for not receiving adequate nutrition on weekends and holidays, when school was not in session, or when nutritious food at home is scarce or unavailable. It is their goal to double the coverage this year to serve a population of at least 75 children in Richland County, Grades K-5. They plan to send home a backpack containing several kid-friendly, easily prepared nutritious meals and snacks each Friday or school day preceding a holiday.
This project is important to their community because the health and well-being of the community children is essential to the health and well-being of their entire community. With the downturn of the oil and gas economy in their community, more and more families are struggling to make ends meet, and when families struggle, children struggle as well. The price of groceries in their community continues to be at an all-time high, further stretching limited resources in Richland County families. Too often children are left to their own devices for meals and snacks and either go without or select items that could be lacking in nutritive value.
The Boys & Girls Club of Richland County distributed a survey following their pilot program last year, and it was apparent from the results returned from participating families how much this program was appreciated and needed in their community. One child was quoted saying, “Today is Friday, and it is the best day.” The student proceeded to explain that Fridays were backpack days, and he had a whole backpack full of good food for the weekend. This program is receiving positive feedback from the schools and participants and their goal is to make this a sustained project in the future.
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Or contact Elaine Stedman for more information