The San Antonio Food Bank currently partners with dozens of schools to provide food for children at-risk of going hungry over a weekend or holiday. The schools chosen were those that demonstrated a need, according to their respective rates of free/reduced lunch program participation, and located in neighborhoods with limited access to charitable services such as food pantries or soup kitchens. The San Antonio Food Bank also partners with Communities In Schools to see to it that even more needy children are served.
San Antonio Food Bank BackPack schools distribute food packs to children who are identified by caring teachers and staff members as showing signs that he or she is living in a high-risk situation. These students are referred to school counselors, who then see to it that the child is discreetly given a food pack to take home. In addition to providing food packs for the needy child and his or her siblings, school counselors are able to refer these families to the San Antonio Food Bank for additional assistance with Food Stamp Outreach, senior citizen nutrition programs, and food pantry referrals.
Parents: The Food Bank does not provide SCHOOL SUPPLIES, uniforms, or actual backpacks. If you need these items, please call the United Way 211 Helpline for a list of providers. The San Antonio Food Bank BackPack Program is a school-based emergency food assistance partnership.
BackPack Program Objectives
- To provide children at-risk of hunger with nutritious, easy-to-prepare food for preparation and consumption at their place of residence
- To distribute nutritious, wholesome food in a caring, discreet manner
- To reach out to the entire family to assist them in accessing other services provided by the San Antonio Food Bank and the San Antonio Food Bank SNAP Outreach Center.
- To involve additional resources and partners in order to assure sustainability of the program
Teachers & School Staff: To apply to become a San Antonio Food Bank BackPack Program Partner, please send a letter on school letterhead explaining the need and reporting your most recent PEIMS free/reduced meal data for your students. Schools with 70% or greater free/reduced meal participation will be added to the BackPack Program waiting list until a sponsor is found to underwrite your school.
Farm Fresh Fridays
The San Antonio Food Bank’s Farm Fresh Fridays program offers year round hunger solutions that are easily accessible to struggling families with children. Farm Fresh Fridays’ primary purpose is to provide for children who have been identified as at-risk for hunger over the weekends, holidays, or in extraordinary circumstances such as homelessness. This effort provides 20 pounds of fresh, highly desired fruits and vegetables to participating children each week, up to four times per month, to be consumed with their family. The fresh fruits and vegetables are obtained locally whenever possible, with a portion coming directly from the Community Learning Garden at the San Antonio Food Bank. With support from the Charity Ball Association, the Food Bank is able to provide approximately 222,220 pounds of food support for kids over the summer of 2016. Each child will be able to access a produce allotment of at least four different produce items and receive instruction in the form of recipes or educational flyers to learn to prepare the items provided.
Program made possible in part by: www.charityballassociation.org.
- The BackPack Program concept was developed at the Arkansas Rice Depot in Little Rock, after a school nurse asked for help because hungry students were coming to her with stomachaches and dizziness. The local food bank began to provide the school children with groceries in non-descript BackPacks to carry home.
- The BackPack Program became a pilot program in 1995. The National Council of Feeding America approved the BackPack Program as an official national program of the Network in July 2006.
- There are more than 120 Feeding America members operating more than 1,600 BackPack Programs in 41 states and Washington, D.C, serving more than 70,000 children each year.
San Antonio Food Bank BackPack Program Wish List
- Single-serve, 6 oz pop-top cans of meat, pasta, fruit, corn or green beans
- Granola bars
- 100% juice boxes
- Single-serve trail mix, nuts, or dried fruit
- Shelf-stable chocolate milk
- Single-serve boxes of cerealGallon-size zip-close bags