Share Backpack Program

“I just want to thank you for this program. Our family has struggled so hard over the last few years and this simple act of generosity has been a tremendous help.”

PrintBags are filled with 5-10 pounds of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food. Just $4.50 will fill a bag for one child. 1,850 packs are distributed to each of the 90 schools participating in the program; this includes elementary, middle and high schools, as well as EOCF Head Start programs. Packs include items like: a protein, a grain, canned beans or soup, a boxed meal, a vegetable or a fruit and a snack.

Most Needed Items for Backpack Program

Shelf-stable, protein-rich foods are the single-best food items to donate. Peanut butter, canned or easy-open meats (chicken, tuna fish, ham, etc.) canned chili and high-protein soups are easy to transport and simple to prepare. These items are not only nutritious, but are also ideal for families who do not have access to a stove for cooking, as they can be heated in a microwave. Click below for examples of shelf-stable protein items.

Download a list of examples of shelf-stable proteins

Note: Space in bags is limited so smaller items are preferred and allow us to pack more into each bag. As these are also being distributed to young children, we do not include any glass in the bags, so plastic jars and containers are preferred.

The packs are discretely given out on Friday after school to ensure that children, and their families, have nutritious food to eat over the weekend. The Backpack Program operates under anonymity; we do this to protect the privacy of the children and their families as hunger and poverty are often highly stigmatized in our society.

Added to those 1,850 backpacks are 13 sets of High School Pantry Boxes that help support 20+ kids per school. The high school boxes weigh about 22 lbs. each, for a total of 374 lbss of food to high schools each week.

Supplemental Fresh Food Pantries have joined our Backpack Program at nine elementary schools (Marrion, Orchards, Washington, Sarah J. Anderson, Burton, Roosevelt, Ellsworth, Endeavour & Marshall/McLoughlin). These pantries are open two days per month and provide a variety of fresh produce, dairy and meat. It’s wonderful resource for dozens of families in need of food assistance in our community. And, we now also have a Mobile Food Pantry that visits 12 schools once per month.

The Backpack Program operates in large part due to the generosity of volunteers. It takes about 50 volunteers donating 115+ hours of time to stock the shelves, bag the food and deliver the backpacks each week.

Share Backpack Program (Filmed in 2013)

Thinking of having a food drive for Share?

We can make it easy with our list of top ten food needs. Please contact (360) 952-8229 or devcoor@sharevancouver.org.

For more information on our Backpack Program, contact Katie Dwaileebe, Hunger Response Assistant Director, at (360) 952-8221 or hungerresponse@sharevancouver.org.