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The Backpack for Kids Program is an emergency food assistance program designed especially for kids. Kids who are hungry receive non-perishable food for themselves and their younger siblings for an evening meal or for an entire weekend. School personnel put the food in a backpack for the student to carry home. The child avoids the stigma of carrying home a bag of groceries.

Why are we doing this?

  • Nutritional deficiencies of even a relatively short-term nature influence children’s behavior, ability to concentrate and to perform complex tasks (Center for Disease Control & Prevention 2012).
  • Every day in New Mexico 22 babies are born into poverty (NMACF).
  • As the number of families receiving food stamps decreases, the number of families accessing New Mexico’s Food Bank network is increasing (New Mexico Human Resources Department 12/2011). New Mexico ranks 12th in the nation in food insecurity. 07/01/2015
  • Over half (80%) of New Mexico’s Students are eligible to receive free or reduced lunches. This is almost twice the National Average of 30.9% (Food, Research and Action Center, 2014).
  • The overall rate of poverty in New Mexico – 22%
  • The rate of poverty among children under age 18 in New Mexico is 31% while the national average is 20.8% (FRAC 2013).
  • Last year the community helped us provide 5,388 backpacks in 20 Aztec, Bloomfield, Blanco, Farmington & Newcomb elementary schools. A grant through the ConAlma Health Foundation has provided backpacks for the Chama Valley Schools.

There are no out of pocket costs to the schools or to the children!

How Can I help?

  • If your place of business orders food items by the case – order an extra case for ECHO’s backpacks – we’ll pick it up!
  • Place our secure coin collection boxes by your check stands or cashier – we can pick these up on a regular basis.
  • Designate a portion of kid’s meal, a dessert or other meal to help fund the backpack program on a regular basis.
  • Hold a food or backpack drive


We gratefully acknowledge Backpack for Kids School Pantry Sponsors:

  • San Juan United Way Donors
  • SJC Business Law Students
  • BHP Billiton
  • City of Farmington & SJ County
  • Chevron Production Co.
  • Deal Excavating
  • Evening Lions Club
  • Many Good Neighbors!

“Adopt a School” Sponsors:

  • Animas Credit Union
  • Bethany Christian Church
  • BP America Production Co.
  • Con Alma Health Foundation
  • Devon Energy
  • First Presbyterian Church
  • W. W. Grainger, Inc.
  • WalMart Foundation