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. — Throughout the 2018-2019 school year, Ozarks Food Harvest plans to provide more than 57,000 food bags for regional schools through its Weekend Backpack 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.
“One in five children in the Ozarks are food insecure, and without the Weekend Backpack Program, so many children would be worried about getting enough food over the weekend,” said Bart Brown, president/CEO of Ozarks Food Harvest. “Thanks to our wonderful donors, kids get the balanced nutrition they need to focus in school, week after week.”
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, Shada Travis, will monitor the program throughout the school year. “I’m looking forward to working closely with schools to address food assistance needs and ensuring that kids are getting nutritious meals and snacks each week,” said Travis.
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 17 million meals annually. Learn more at ozarksfoodharvest.org, facebook.com/ozarksfoodharvest or twitter.com/ozksfoodharvest.