The Weekend Food for Kids Backpack Project provides food for children enrolled in afterschool and summer enrichment programs. AmeriCorps members distribute the backpacks every Thursday. Backpacks are sent home weekly during each school year and summer. During the current 2012-13 school year the program served 120 students. Most of the food is in child-size portions, easy to open with little or no preparation and needs no refrigeration. Each backpack contains 8 to 9 nutritional food items such as fruit cups, applesauce cups, meat and vegetable bowls, a snack pack of raisins, granola bars, fat free pudding cups, 100 percent juice boxes and Gatorade.
Food distribution occurs weekly at 11AM at two low-income housing complexes. Donated fresh produce, meats, bread and baked goods, and canned and dry foods are picked up at a local Wal-Mart three times per week. Meat and baked goods are frozen and stored while produce is refrigerated, stored on shelving, or sent to partner agencies for distribution. Each Monday the stored food is loaded on vehicles, transported to the distribution site, unpacked, and distributed by AmeriCorps members and community volunteers. During 2012, over 26,000 pounds of food were distributed to 350 households.