At the end of this school year: The Food-4-Kids Backpack Program is currently serving 6,685 kids in 388 schools, in 64 counties.

Over 220,000 food packets were distributed to weekend chronically hungry students/siblings through our “Backpack Program” this school session and thousands of volunteer hours were utilized to assemble the food packets!

What is Food 4 Kids?

Some kids look forward to the weekend. For others, the weekends are a time when they go hungry. The hot meals at school can be the only filling meals that some children get.

That's why the Kansas Food Bank started a program called Food 4 Kids back in September of 2004. Food 4 Kids was established for students who are weekend "food insecure" and who are not getting sufficient food outside of school on a regular basis.

The idea is to send these children home with a backpack full of nutritious pre-assembled bags of food on Friday each week.

When Food 4 Kids first began the program in the fall of 2004 it was helping 632 kids in 10 districts, but by the end of school of the 2012-13 school year, the program has grown to help over 7,158 kids in 400 schools in 58 Kansas Counties. Food 4 Kids is a statewide partnership with the Kansas Food Bank, Dillons, Fugate Enterprises, Taco Bell & Pizza Hut and KWCH 12.

What the Food 4 Kids Backpacks Contain

Different foods designed to provide nutrition and calories for chronically hungry school children on weekends.
Kid friendly foods that require no preparation. Kids can just "open and eat".

List Of Food

Peanut Butter (12-oz jar) and a sleeve of crackers
Beans and Franks (pop-top can)
Beef Jerky (1 oz)
Cereal (1 oz bowl or box)
Fruit Cups (peaches, applesauce, etc)
Raisins (snack-size boxes)
Pudding Cups
Juice Boxes (apple, orange or other juice)
Milk (aseptic pack boxes that do not require refrigeration)
Cereal Bars or granola bars

What Is Food Insecurity?

If a child does not get enough food outside of school he/she is considered "food insecure." The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as households that are uncertain of having, or unable to acquire, enough food to meet basic needs of all their members because of insufficient money or other resources. When the guardian of a child has to choose between food and other necessities, e.g., having electricity shut off because they don't have enough money, it is an indicator of food insecurity.

A child will not necessarily tell you that he doesn't have enough food at home, but observation of patterns and/or behavior will set them apart. For example: A chronically hungry child will be anxious for a meal to be served; they may rush the cafeteria line or show up early for breakfast; they'll eat any food place before them; they linger around for seconds or even ask for more.

Food insecurity is the main reason for the Food 4 Kids program. Any child who exhibits these behaviors is considered a candidate for receiving a backpack.

School Performance & Behavior

The school performance of a child can indicate there are problems at home with food insufficiency. Examples are: excessive absences both unexcused or due to sickness; hyperactivity, aggressiveness, irritability, anxiousness, withdrawn, distressed, passive/aggressiveness; repetition of a grade; difficulty in forming friendships, Sicknesses such as sore throat, common cold, stomach ache, ear infection, or fatigue; short attention span, and an inability to concentrate.

Difficulty with several of these symptoms can seriously impact a child's ability to learn and master education material...handicapping them down the road.

The idea is to send these children home with a backpack full of nutritious pre-assembled bags of food each Friday every week.

Making A Difference

Here's what the school coordinators are saying about the impact the backpacks are having in children's lives:

Lyons Ks - Central Elementary: Thanks to you and all of your sponsors that allow us to provide these weekend food packets to our kids.

El Dorado Ks – Skelly Elementary: As always, our thanks to you and your committed staff, for continuing to make this happen. We are very grateful for your help.

Garden City Schools: Thank you Mr. Gunkel. We appreciate all you and your staff do to assist our students who are most in need. I know this program has made a huge difference in many students’ lives.

Wichita – Buckner Elementary: Thank you so much for providing this service to our families. I have students who literally wouldn't have food to eat on the weekends if they didn't get the food bags. We appreciate you at Buckner!

Ark City KS – IXL Elementary: There was a family who moved into the district that lived in a home with no electricity and limited funds for food. This family has been much appreciative of the food 4 kids program. Thank you

Pleasanton KS Elementary: Just wanted to say "Thanks" for allowing us to participate in this wonderful program.

Wichita – Minneha Elementary: This one little girl is so appreciative of the weekend food packet, she tells me thank you every week whenever she sees me.

Americus Ks Elementary: Thank you to the Kansas Food Bank and all of the volunteers who put their time and money into this project for our students. It is greatly appreciated and helpful to so many children in our schools.

Lakin Ks Elementary: Thank you to everybody who makes this tremendous service available.

Arma Ks Elementary: Students tell me, “Thanks so much for the food. It gives us something to eat on the weekend.”

Wilson Ks Elementary: We had a family move into town this past month. The boys were constantly wandering the town and finding ways to invite themselves to dinner at their friends houses. When I did some investigating I discovered that the parents did not buy food that the boys are allowed to eat. I got them on the backpack program, introduced them to the local food bank director, and got social services to do periodic checks on the home.

Pratt Ks – Skyline School: We have a family with a single Mom, 2 students and 2 small siblings who had to move out of the home they were living in, into a temporary home with another family member. The Mother did not have a source of transportation and no source of income. We were able to give them food packets to help them during this transition time because of your generous donations. Mom reported she was so grateful for the boxed milk for the youngest sibling because they were without a refrigerator for a period of time. I'd also like to add that as the school nurse and our coordinator I have really appreciated how efficiently the Food 4 Kids program is run. I am able to help meet these needs through your program without a great added burden of extra paperwork and that means a lot. Thank-you so much.

Coffeyville Ks – Community School: I was walking down the hall and a student stopped me to thank me for putting food in his locker. He said the food is needed and he likes eating it on the weekend.

Wellington Ks – Washington Elementary: Thank you!!

Dodge City Ks – Linn Elementary: It is well appreciated how much you do!

Andover Ks – Cottonwood Elementary: The kids are grateful.

Wichita – Riverside Elementary: Thank you for continuing this program.

Oswego Ks – Service Valley Elementary: Thank you Kansas Food Bank for keeping our chronically hungry students fed this year!!

Rose Hill Ks – Middle School: Thank you so much for doing this for our students who have little to eat on the weekends. Have a GREAT Summer

Wichita – Buckner Elementary: Thank you so much for your dedication to our students this school year!! Because of you students had food to eat on the weekends and holidays. Have a very nice summer!!

Salina Ks - Ell – Saline Elementary: This is a tremendous program that helps families, especially students, who may be having hard times. It is a blessing for the program and all the people that work to make it happen!

Garden City Ks – Plymell Elementary: Thank you for another great year!!

Syracuse – Elementary School: Thank you again for putting up with Syracuse. The kids love the backpacks!!

Wichita – Minneha Elementary: The one little girl is so appreciative she tells me thank you EVERY week.

Who does this program benefit?

F4K History >>

F4K - Stories of Hope - February 2015>>

2013 Backpack Numbers >>