BackPack Program

Launched in 2006

The Foodbank’s BackPack Program fills the weekend food gap for children who are homeless or living in transient housing and are at high risk for malnutrition.

During the school day, homeless children receive free lunches and snacks, but they must fend for themselves on the weekend; food is scarce and traditional emergency food sources are not available.

Every Thursday hundreds of backpacks are filled with ready-to-eat, nutritious foods such as peanut butter, fresh fruit, bottled water, 3-oz. pop-top cans of tuna fish, and other easy to prepare meals. On Fridays, the assembled backpacks are delivered to children in transitional living situations and provide six healthy meals for the weekend. On Mondays, the backpacks are brought back and the whole process begins again.

Serving as part of the Children’s Health Initiative, the Foodbank currently supports BackPack Program distributions in Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, Goleta, Lompoc, Santa Maria, and New Cuyuma.

Who is Served

children who are homeless or living in transient housing and are at high risk for malnutrition

Role in Continuum of Programs

Program Impact

Minimal disruption in children’s’ food access while they are away from school.

Program Sites

  • the Foodbank currently supports BackPack Program distributions to children in transitional living situations in Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, Goleta, Lompoc, Santa Maria, and New Cuyuma

Program Partners

Opportunities to Get Involved

  • Volunteers to pack backpacks
  • Food donations

Special Content (photo, testimonial, video, story, etc.)

Each backpack weighs about 10 pounds. One young recipient was overheard saying, “It’s heavy, but it’s a good heavy.”

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