Feeding Hope at School

“Hunger in our school is masked by very resilient and capable children who often times wrestle with feelings of fatigue, headaches and stomachaches, and in many instances struggle with symptoms of inattention and irritability. Hunger brings about feelings of indignity, discomfort and pain and is not distinguishable by grade, gender or social status. At Forest Lake Elementary and with the help of the Kids Pack Backpack Program, staff safely and gently provide space to securely let children know they are loved and cared about by providing the most basic of needs: food.” —TASHA CONNELLY, STUDENT SUPPORT SPECIALIST, FOREST LAKE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

For children who may have limited food at home over the weekend or holidays, the Kids Pack Backpack Program provides a package of food once a month to help them get by. Each pack contains 8-12 “kid friendly” food items that can be consumed with little or no preparation and a simple nutrition handout. The packs are distributed discreetly by school staff to children who may be at-risk of hunger when they don’t have access to school meals.

Throughout north central Minnesota 21 schools participate in Second Harvest’s Kids Pack BackPack Program. The educators and students rely on and appreciate receiving the Kids Packs. Many children would go without the food they need if it wasn’t for the Kids Pack BackPack Program.

“The Kids Pack Backpack Program has been very helpful in the Hill City School District. Several students in grades K-4 have received food packs once a month. During these younger years, students utilize food packs for snacks at school and extra resources at home. Students are especially grateful to stop by and receive food when they need it.” —KARI PERSON, SCHOOL COUNSELOR, HILL CITY ISD 002

“At Riverside Elementary we are a very poverty filled school and over 50% of our kids receive free and reduced meals. Many of our kids don’t bring food for daily snacks and they can use the snack bags for that. Most of the kids ask when their snack bags will be coming again! The Backpack Program is a very wonderful and generous opportunity for our students. I know our staff are very thankful for the program as well!” —SARA JUREK, COLLABORATIVE SERVICE WORKER, RIVERSIDE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

“Kids love to receive their food packs! Students have ‘thanked’ our student support specialist for providing food in their backpack!” —JILL WHEELOCK, PRINCIPAL, COHASSET ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

“At our school, hunger looks like kids hoarding or stealing food from breakfast or lunch in the cafeteria to bring home to their siblings or parents. Kids are relieved to get their packs. If there is ever a mix-up or a misplaced bag of food, there are usually lots of tears and worry.” —ANNIE OLSON-REINERS, PRINCIPAL, KEEWATIN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL