The Backpack Program
While school aged children benefit from programs that provide breakfast and lunch during the school day, some families may not have the means to provide adequate meals at home. Thus, the United Way of Greater High Point organizes and provides administration to support the Backpack Program in our community. The goal of the program is simple: to increase the availability of nutritious, low fat meals to children who are experiencing hunger. The Backpack Program reinforces the fact that children need access to healthy food on a consistent basis.
How the Program Works:
*Children enrolled in the program receive a backpack filled with food to take home on weekends
*The child friendly menu used in this program is designed by a nutritionist and followed very carefully
*Backpacks are discreetly given to children, generally on the last school day before weekends or holidays
United Way Agency Partners involved in the Backpack Program:
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater High Point, The Carl Chavis YMCA, Community Outreach of Archdale Trinity (COAT), The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Clubs, West End Ministries
Schools Supporting and Served by the Backpack Program:
Allen Jay Elementary School, Fairview Elementary School, Oak Hill Elementary School, Oakview Elementary School, Parkview Elementary School, Union Hill Elementary School, Triangle Lake Elementary School
Frequently Asked Questions:
Where does the food come from? The Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC prepares the backpack inserts for children. For more information, click here
Who pays for the food? The food is paid for by a combination of community and grant funds raised by the United Way, partner agencies, and schools. Grant funding for the program has been generously provided by the American Express Charitable Fund, the High Point Community Foundation, Reynolds American, Truliant Federal Credit Union and the Walmart Foundation.
How much does the food cost? At this time, food costs are about $6.00 per week, per child. Over the 40 week program, this is about $240 per child. However, as food and transportation costs fluctuate, this could change.
How many schools are served in the Greater High Point region? At this time, children at 7 elementary schools benefit from the backpack program
How many children are served by the backpack program? There are currently 250 children that benefit from the backpack program Greater High Point Area.
How are children chosen to participate in the program? Schools identify children based on a list of criteria.
Consider this fact, from Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC….
It costs more than $50,00 a year to house one inmate in Central Prison in Raleigh, yet just $10,000 a year can support a Backpack Program site serving 40 children.
About Childhood Hunger in Our Community
Childhood hunger is a serious problem in our community. According to Feeding America, more than one in 5 children in the Southeast Region of the US live with food insecurity. Based on statistics for 2007-2009, Feeding America identified North Carolina as one of five states with a statistically significant higher household food insecurity rate than the national average.
Click here to view article
The harsh reality is that food insecure children face lifelong consequences. They are likely to suffer from weaker immune systems and are more likely to be hospitalized. Inadequate nutrition effects physical and cognitive development, and can result in children with lower cognitive function and learning potential, as well as behavioral difficulties. Adults who were hungry as children are less likely to have reached their full physical, educational and social potential, which lowers their ability to compete in the workplace.
Click here to see Feeding America’s full study about the effects of childhood food insecurity
In our community, hunger does not discriminate. It can affect any child, even those you least expect. Many of our children are living in poverty and their families simply cannot afford to make ends meet. An indicator of this serious issue is the number of children that are enrolled to receive free and reduced lunch. In 2008, 55.6% of Guilford County children were enrolled in the program. This was an increase of 10% from the previous year.
Click here to see how food insecurity rates in North Carolina compare with other states