The Backpack Buddy program run by the Houston Food Bank is an effort to send meals home with kids at the end of each school week so they’ll have enough to eat over the weekend.
The Food Bank‘s Ann Svendsen Sanchez says they provide food for 8,000 students in the 14-county region.
“The foods that we give out to children for the weekend are shelf-stable, kid-friendly. And we’re providing two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners and two snacks.”
This week, the Kinder Foundation gifted the program with $1 million to be divided over the next five years.
“Which will allow us to start our program every single year. Sometimes it takes a while for us to get the funding. This program is completely 100 percent funded through donations. It has no federal grants. So this $250,000 a year for the next five years, we know that we’re going to have the backpack program.”
Right now the Backpack Buddy program is offered in 387 schools, but Sanchez says they hope to expand it to 400 by May.
She estimates 1,800 schools in the region have students who are food insecure.
[Editor’s Note 03/22/2013: The Kinder donation will be divvied into $200,000 installments per year for the next five years. In the original interview, the Houston Food Bank said $250,000. ]