The Backpack Buddies program provides food to homeless children in the Arlington County Public Schools System. At any one time, the school system estimates that there are upwards of 300 homeless children attending the public schools in the County. These children often live in transient housing, which have minimal or no food or kitchens available for use. Their main meal of the day is at the school they attend. On weekends and over long holidays, these children often go with minimal or no food.
The Backpack Buddies began in September 2010 as a pilot program at one elementary school. In the 2011-12 school year, the program will be expanded to all of the Arlington County Public Schools, adding upwards of 300 clients to the approximately 1,400 families AFAC is serving weekly.
The Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) provides selected food items from food drive donations and from food purchased specifically for this program and provides that food to the schools. Examples include:
- fresh fruit
- granola bars
- microwavable meals & soups
- peanut butter & jelly - squeezable
- juice boxes
- cheese crackers
- boxes of raisins
- trail mix
- mac & cheese bowls
- microwavable stew & chili
- fruit cups
Food for each backpack costs approximately $18.00 per week.
Staff at the schools pack the food in backpacks and provide the backpacks to students registered in the program on Fridays prior to the weekend. The student can then return the backpack to the school on Monday so the cycle can begin anew.
How you can help:
Food donations specifically for this program and donations to support the program on a continuing basis are needed. For information and resources on organizing a food drive, please see our Food Drive webpage.
For financial contributions, please visit our website: http://www.afac.org/donate/funds.php or call 703-845-8486 for more information.