BackPack program feeds hundreds of Brazos Valley children each week

BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - Since 2005, the Brazos Valley Food Bank has partnered with schools across the Brazos Valley to make sure kids have food to eat on weekends, when school meals aren't available.

"We don't function our best when we're hungry. That's especially true if you're growing. You need more fuel, more energy to grow properly and to flourish," said Shannon Avila, Programs Manager at the Brazos Valley Food Bank. "So that's really what BackPack is about, making sure students have enough food so they can grow healthy and strong and smart."

Through the BackPack program, the food bank provides about 1,400 bags of food to local students each week. The young children receive the bag on Fridays and they have food for six meals and two snacks. The bags are filled with items like oatmeal, cereal, peanut butter and jelly, milk and mac and cheese.

"It has to be not just healthy but also appetizing. We raise money so that we can buy targeted foods, specifically for backpacks, and that we can get enough of that food to put in every backpack," said Avila.

The program operates in 40 elementary schools in six counties. The feedback shows the kids aren't just growing physically thanks to the food, but spiritually as well.

"A student said that they had saved a particular fruit from their backpack because it was their mom's favorite and she never got to have it," said Avila. "That says so much, right? It's not just that the child is hungry and needs the food, but they're also thinking of their other family members."

Avila says they distributed about 45,000 backpacks last year. She says in addition to monetary donations to buy the BackPack supplies, volunteers are also needed to put the bags together.

For more information on volunteering or donating to the BackPack Program, click on the Related Links section.