Backpack program continues to feed students during winter break

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For some children, breakfast and lunch at school are their only meals.

But that doesn’t mean they’re hungry during the holidays.

This is where the “backpack program” comes in.

Before every weekend and holiday, the Food Bank of Delaware delivers bags of food to schools – where

Delaware Food Bank volunteers prepare bags of food to distribute to schools.

they are discreetly placed in the backpacks of nearly 4,000 students.

“It’s great to hear them come back and say that I shared it with my little sister or my little brother at home,” said Gloria Ho, who coordinates the program for students at Milton Elementary School in the Sussex County. “I knew this was very important to a lot of our kids because when they come home for an early dismissal or for a long break they call you back, hey may I have some food in my bag? back.”

The food bank says one in six children in Delaware is food insecure. They say that for many children, the program reduces health problems, helps improve academic performance, and educates parents about available resources.

Ho says she likes the program because there is no paperwork. She says parents don’t have to do anything to qualify except sign an authorization form.

“A lot of our parents who use the backpack program are the ones who not only work, but they work very hard, sometimes more than one job,” she said, adding that they often have to prioritize other expenses such as child care, rent, and higher prices for groceries.

Each weekend bag contains at least two breakfasts, two lunches and snacks. Ho said students can get extra before long breaks like the one between Christmas and New Years.

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