A young child eating peaches gives a thumbs up to the camera.

For many kids, a school day might also mean a day with a nourishing breakfast and lunch, needed for growing bodies and minds. This need doesn’t disappear when the school bell rings on Friday afternoon. Which is why the Vermont Foodbank, with help from school partners and help from you, runs the BackPack program, which sends food home with kids when school is not in session.

“Having the snack bags as a resource for students, some in particular, is such a comfort. Without the program, my guess is that we would be trying to put together bags of food on a Friday afternoon for children that we know are experiencing food insecurity,” shares Jody.

The BackPack program works through collaboration — guidance counselors, school nurses, and other school staff send information and permission slips home inviting families who might benefit to participate. The Vermont Foodbank packages and distributes bags of kid-friendly, nonperishable, nourishing foods to participating schools, which are then shared in ways that are inviting and comfortable for kids. Your support helps to get food into kids’ backpacks!

When Jody asks her students about the food they take home, they talk about some of their favorites: cereal, mac and cheese, grahams, and the fruit cup. One student says that the bags are heavy. Around 60 bags of food are distributed each week at Jody’s school which has around 360 students enrolled.

Throughout Vermont, an estimated 1,350 kids will receive approximately 42,000 bags of food, helping to ensure full bellies over the weekend and other school recesses.

One school staff member describes the impact the BackPack program has on the kids, “They seem to have a sense of calm knowing that they have food on the weekends.”

* Photo substituted to protect privacy.

  • Matthew works at Foodworks food shelf, one of the 353 community organizations that partners with Vermont Foodbank working towards a food-secure vermont.

  • Elysia lives in St. Johnsbury and is a community consultant for Vermont Foodbank. She brings her expertise to help improve services and increase access to food for folks in her community.

  • This month, we're celebrating you and those who've offered the Gift of Support and in so doing have joined us on the journey of creating a food-secure Vermont by sharing part of a recent interview with friend and neighbor Sara.