Many children rely on school cafeterias for their most nutritious meal of the day. In some cases, this may be the only meal a child receives. Each Friday afternoon during the school year, kids are discreetly and confidently provided a food filled backpack to ensure they have something to eat during the weekend.
Backpack food programs have been shown to increase attendance, decrease behavior problems, improve concentration, and improves student academic achievement. Shannon Coffin, Good Shepherd Food Bank Program Director has watched these programs grow throughout the State of Maine. Coffin states: “At the end of 2011 -2012 school year, Good Shepherd Food Bank sent out surveys to parents and school staff participating in the BackPack Program so they could collect feedback. They were overwhelmed by the positive response received.”
“A full 100% of parents who completed the survey agreed that the BackPack Program was easy for their family to participate in and that it helped their families stretch their food budget. Over 80% agreed that the program helped their child eat more nutritious food this year and that food was shared amongst several siblings in the home.”
A parent commented on the program, “The Backpack Program is a true blessing! We are two parents who are experiencing an array of illnesses and loss of work. This help allows us to worry a little less about an essential part of our lives – meals.”
A teacher wrote, “Children are eager to get their food on Fridays. They are proud to be taking food home for their families.”
Please join this small community effort to bring the backpack program to Wiscasset school children.