Regional food bank provides weekend food for schoolchildren in the Ozarks
Ozarks Food Harvest provides Weekend Backpack food bags for 59 southwest Missouri schools each week
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Thanks to Ozarks Food Harvest’s Weekend Backpack Program, children facing hunger in the Ozarks don’t have to worry about having enough to eat over the weekends this school year. Throughout the 2019-2020 school year, The Food Bank plans to provide more than 58,000 food bags for regional schools in 16 counties through the program.
The Food Bank’s Weekend Backpack Program provides food-insecure children with a bag of child-friendly food items to take home every Friday of the entire school year. More than 1,600 children in 59 schools in Springfield and surrounding areas benefit from this program, which began in 2003.
“Over the years, the schools have consistently told us how excited and grateful the kids are to receive their food bags every Friday,” said Bart Brown, president/CEO of Ozarks Food Harvest. “With 1 in 5 children in the Ozarks struggling with hunger, these weekend meals provide essential nutrition that keeps them fed and fueled before coming back to school on Monday.”
Each food bag contains two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners and two snacks, along with beverages. All of the food items are easy to open and ready to eat. Students who receive the bags are selected by teachers and counselors who interact with the children on a daily basis.
Ozarks Food Harvest’s new backpack program coordinator, Rebecca Moore, will monitor the program throughout the school year.
“The backpack program provides students with meals and snacks to help them focus on learning instead of hunger. I look forward to working with our community and educators to address food assistance needs to ensure that kids are getting nutritious meals each week,” Moore said.
The Food Bank accepts monetary donations to purchase meals and snacks in bulk for the program. More information about the Weekend Backpack Program is available at ozarksfoodharvest.org/programs/backpack.
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About Ozarks Food Harvest — The Food Bank
Ozarks Food Harvest is the Feeding America food bank for southwest Missouri, providing food to 270 organizations across 28 Ozarks counties serving 261,000 unduplicated individuals. The Food Bank provides more than 18.5 million meals annually. Learn more at ozarksfoodharvest.org, facebook.com/ozarksfoodharvest or twitter.com/ozksfoodharvest.