Family to Family Iowa

Backpack Buddies program feeds hungry schoolchildren

Posted 8/29/2012

Backpack Buddies, a project of the Food Bank of Iowa, is launching its fall effort to provide food for hungry children.  The Food Bank of Iowa maintains a 53,000 square foot distribution center in Des Moines containing more than 45,000 square feet of dry storage, 48,000 cubic feet of freezer space and substantial cooler space. Out of this facility, it serves 285 partner agencies in 42 counties. An additional 13 counties are served through a redistribution organization, the Food Bank of Southern Iowa.

To qualify to be a Backpack Buddy, the child must be of elementary school age and a participant of the Free and Reduced Meal Program. A permission form will be sent to the parents allowing their child's participation. Involvement in the program is be on a first come first serve basis. There is no cost for children to be a Backpack Buddy.

The Backpack Buddies program is designed to lessen the consequence of chronic childhood hunger by providing a bag of kid-friendly foods to low-income elementary school children on weekends when they do not have access to the federal free and reduced-price meal program. The heart of the program is the weekly distribution to children participating in the program. Plastic sacks filled with kid-friendly food are distributed to program participants every Friday afternoon or the last day of school for the week. Each bag contains about 13 food items including pudding, fruit cups, main dishes, cereal, juice and other items.
To volunteer, donate, or find out more, visit the Food Bank of Iowa site at this link:
The NE Iowa Food Bank based in Waterloo has a similar program in many NE Iowa Schools.  Here is the link to information about the program and which school distircts participate:

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