For many children, the holidays are stressful, school is out, and they lose access to the one meal they can count on, school lunch. Nearly 40 percent of the children in our community qualify for free and reduced meals and one in every six children is food insecure, a heart-wrenching statistic that highlights the need for the BackPack Program.
Research shows that when kids have full tummies, they can learn in school, be more creative, and grow to their full potential. Going hungry does not just affect a child's physical health; students in food insecure homes also have a harder time interacting with their peers, paying attention, and performing academically.
Children at risk of hunger are provided free or reduced meals through the National School Lunch Program. While this program effectively combats hunger during the school day, it does not address the needs of children when school is not in session.
Feeding South Dakota’s BackPack Program is designed to fill this gap by providing at-risk children with nutritious, easy-to-prepare foods during weekends and holidays. Currently, more than 3,000 children receive a bag of food each week in Sioux Falls and surrounding communities. When asked through a survey, “in the last month, did you ever worry that the food in your house would run out before you were able to buy more,” 67 percent of children enrolled in the BackPack Program said often or sometimes. This program is filling a significant gap for food insecure children.
“We provide the food to these children not only to combat their hunger but also to prevent any growth and developmental delays or behavior problems,” said Allison Struck, BackPack Program Coordinator.
Feeding South Dakota needs your help.
There are currently more than 100 children who still need a sponsor for the BackPack Program. A gift of $150 provides a child with a bag of food each week for the entire school year. Visit feedingsouthdakota.org to sponsor a child today.
About Feeding South Dakota
Feeding South Dakota, whose mission is to eliminate hunger in South Dakota, is the state’s largest charitable hunger relief organization. In FY16, Feeding South Dakota secured and distributed over 13.5 million pounds of quality nutritious donated and purchased food providing 11.25 million meals to more than 190,000 individuals in need. Feeding South Dakota is able to distribute this food from our distribution centers in Sioux Falls, Pierre and Rapid City through its network of over 350 charitable organizations across the state. These organizations then provide this food to individuals who are “food insecure” through youth programs, senior centers, on-site feeding programs, emergency food pantries, after school programs, and homeless shelters. For more information on Feeding South Dakota, please visit www.feedingsouthdakota.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
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