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 snack for an entire weekend. Kid friendly, easy to open food filled backpacks are delivered to 26 schools across San Juan County. School personnel then distribute to children they deem at risk of going hungry over weekends or school breaks. Backpacks help avoid 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
- Donate – $12 fills a backpack for a child in need.
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