The Backpack for Kids Program is an emergency food assistance program designed especially for kids. In New Mexico 1 in 3 kids may not know where their next meal will come from. They face a daily challenge of getting the energy needed to not only grow but the energy needed to help them learn in school. Hungry children are more likely to struggle in school by repeating a grade in elementary school, experience developmental impairments in areas like language, and have more social and behavioral problems.
Join us in addressing this issue with our program. Backpacks are filled with meals made with kid-friendly, easy-to-open food. The public schools in San Juan County identify the students they believe are at risk of going hungry at home over weekends or holidays. We deliver our backpacks to the schools and they distribute them. Why backpacks? They help the child avoid the stigma of carrying a box or grocery bag of food.
Why are we doing this? Hungry children are more likely to:
- Be hospitalized.
- Face higher risks of health conditions like anemia and asthma.
- Have problems in many social situations.
- Struggle in school.
- 84% of households served report buying the cheapest food (instead of healthy food) to provide enough to eat.
How can I help?
- Volunteer at the ECHO Food Bank. Your help is needed to keep backpacks packed to keep up with the delivery schedule.
- Donate $12 monthly to fill a backpack.
- Sponsor a backpack. $100 will keep a backpack filled for a child for an entire school year.
- Hold a food drive or drive! Help us get foods to create healthy meals.
- Host a fundraiser online or with cash donations.
Check out our fundraiser/food drive kit here! This includes food donation lists, fundraising templates, and more! https://echoinc.org/hostfooddrive/
We are so grateful for the wonderful, continued support from the following:
- City of Farmington
- Deal Excavating
- Four Corners Federation of Republican Women?
- Navajo Transitional Energy Company
- San Juan United Way Donors
- San Juan County
- Sandia Labs Federal Credit Union / Animas Credit Union
“Tell us about the impact on your students…”
- A teacher reported food bag helps the student focus at school. He does not constantly ask about lunch.
- A new student is homeless and the bag helps the family tremendously.
- A parent called to thank us for ECHO bags.
- A student expressed that the ECHO bag is his ‘weekend food’ – Mom works and he fends for himself!
- A little girl asked if she could take one home for her brother.
- Happy kids – Happy to receive their bag! Kids loved the gold bags.
- A student said the food bag is a ‘lifesaver’