Food 4 Kids backpack program gets Heartland grant

Kansas Food Bank Press Release

WICHITA — The Kansas Food Bank is honored to announce receipt of a grant from the Heartland Community Foundation to support the Food 4 Kids weekend backpack program.  

The Food 4 Kids program provides kid-friendly, nutritious weekend food packets for children who experience food insecurity.

Our school partners in Ellis, Trego and Rooks Counties help distribute the packets discreetly to the children in need every Friday. By eliminating hunger over the weekend, the children come to school Monday morning ready to learn. The packets are available at no charge to the families or the school district.

Due to the pandemic, we also are able to adapt packet distributions. Whether children are in the classroom, learning remotely at home or a hybrid of the two, they will receive their food packets regardless of where they are learning.

Many families rely on the public school system to provide much-needed meals to children when school is in session, however, on the weekends the children may have little to no access to food. When children lack proper nutrition it often leads to serious health, educational and behavioral issues. By providing the children food over the weekends and during school vacations, we see many benefits to the children including: grade improvement, better attendance, behavioral issues decrease, fewer requests for food at school and fewer visits to the nurse’s office. 

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 parent or guardian of a child has to choose between food and other necessities, for example, having electricity shut off because they don’t have enough money, it is an indicator of food insecurity.

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

The Kansas Food Bank is grateful for the partnership with the Heartland Community Foundation to feed children in need.

About the Kansas Food Bank

The Kansas Food Bank collects and distributes donated and low-cost nutritious food to more than 700 hunger relief partners in its 85-county service area. In 2019 more than 14 million meals were distributed.  Hunger-relief partners include food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, schools in the Food4Kids backpack program, and Bob Box senior box programs. In addition, the Food Bank takes a leadership role in identifying and addressing hunger needs affecting Kansans. For more information, visit www.kansasfoodbank.org.