“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.”
Below is an overview of Share’s Backpack Program and how it is operating during this school year while students are learning from home. When this crisis has passed, and schools are able to safely open, we hope to pick the program up where it left off.
We serve a total of 70 schools in all three of our school-year Hunger Response programs, which include our Backpacks, Kid-Friendly Food Boxes provided by the Clark County Food Bank, and Fresh Food Pantries. (Note that some schools receive food from multiple programs.)
500 Food Boxes: This school year we are partnering with the Clark County Food Bank to provide 500 Kid-Friendly Food Boxes to 33 schools in the Evergreen and Vancouver School Districts every other week. These boxes are filled with snacks and easy to prepare foods. The goal is to provide students who are at home participating in distance learning with healthy, easy to access food during the day.
63 Backpack Schools: 600-650 bags of non-perishable food are delivered on Thursdays during the school year to help provide food to low-income families over the weekend when there is no access to school lunch. The bags are 6–8 pounds, and contain: fruit or vegetable, boxed meal or mac n cheese, canned chili or soup, canned protein, rice or pasta, and a snack. These bags alternate with the food boxes for Evergreen and Vancouver School Districts, but are delivered weekly to Battle Ground School District, Woodland School District, and EOCF Headstart locations.
Our goal is to provide the staples needed for two family meals; items are coordinated so that families can create a complete and nutritious meal. We also provide 35 ‘hotel’ bags a week that are made up of foods that do not require a can opener or a kitchen to prepare. Our goal with the hotel bags is to support families and children facing homelessness. These include unaccompanied youth, families living in a car, children or families who are couch surfing, and many other situations in which a child or family might find themselves without a kitchen or utensils.
Shelf-stable, protein-rich foods are the single-best food items to donate. 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.
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 bags are given out on Fridays 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.
The Backpack Program operates in large part due to the generosity of volunteers. We are still utilizing volunteers, but on a smaller scale to accommodate COVID protocols.
12 Fresh Food Pantries: 12 local schools receive fresh produce, dairy, eggs, and bread once per month. Share partners with the Clark County Food Bank to deliver fresh, nutritionally-dense food to under served populations in the community through school pantries. This school year, school families can attend multiple fresh food pantries as often as they need to feed their household.
Thinking of having a food drive for Share?
We can make it easy with our list of top ten food needs. Please contact Sara Johnson at (360) 952-8312 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on our Backpack Program, contact Becci Read-Ryan, Hunger & Nutrition Programs Manager, at (360) 553-8064 or email@example.com.