Love School Backpack Program Provides Weekend Food

On a recent Friday afternoon, Love Elementary School Health & Attendance Clerk, Anne Eklund, handed out bags filled with snacks and family-sized items such as macaroni and cheese or pasta and sauce for students to take home for the weekend. Love Elementary School is partnering with WNY Food Bank’s “The Family BackPack Program” to ensure that any children at risk of hunger, and their families, have food to eat on the weekends.

Mrs. Eklund started the program at Love School four years ago. Any student is eligible for the BackPack Program and often staff will refer students to the program.

“It fills the gap for working parents that might need a little help for awhile,” said Mrs. Eklund. “We know our children can’t focus or learn properly if they are hungry.”

The BackPack Program was launched in 2006 at Craigsville Elementary School in Augusta County with 90 children. Today, thousands benefit from this afterschool program every year. Participating schools report 50 percent or more of their students qualify for free- or reduced-lunches through the National School Lunch Program. The Family BackPack includes components to provide the foundation for meals. Inside of a typical bag, you might find family-size items like oatmeal, beans, rice, canned meats and more thanks to program donors: Walmart, Thurmond Foundation and Abbott Fund.