Millions of children in the U.S. count on the free and reduced meals available at school to alleviate their hunger. During weekends and holidays, The BackPack Buddies Program helps meet their needs by providing children ages 5-12 with nutritious and easy-to-prepare food that they can take home when other resources aren’t always available.
With the help of many partners, grants and community efforts and with the assistance of our local guidance counselors in the Shelby County School System, our program targets children who may be “at risk” for food insecurity. We are now feeding 350 children weekly but we have many more waiting to be helped. The smallest amount can make a huge difference!
“Since 2000, the child poverty rate has increased by 18%, meaning that the economic recession of the past few years effectively wiped out all of the gains we made in cutting child poverty in the late 1990’s, Alabama ranked a miserable 46th.” (Kids Count Data, 2011)
HELP US KEEP GOING BY…
- …”Like us” on Facebook under VFS and invite your friends
- …Making an individual donation toward the purchase of food supplies
- …Sponsoring one of our local schools for one year
- …Hosting a BackPack Buddies Food Drive or Host BackPack Buddies Party or Volunteer to do a Packing Party
- …Donating grocery gift cards, which are tax-deductible
- …Connect us with corporate partnerships
Backpack Buddies bags currently include the following items:
- Pop-top meal item
- Granola Bars
- Oatmeal Packets/Grits Packets/Cheerios Cups/Corn Flakes Mini Boxes
- Applesauce/ Fruit Cups/Fruit Snacks
- 100% Juice Boxes
- Mini Pop top Vegetable Can
- Cheese or Peanut Butter Crackers
- Mac n Cheese Packets
- Pudding Cups
Items must be nutritious, shelf-stable, single serve, child-friendly, self-serve food designed to fill a backpack and feed a child over the weekend.
IT IS A SIMPLE PROGRAM THAT SIMPLY WORKS
- Food is purchased.
- Food is packed.
- Food is delivered to participating schools.
Children receive Buddies Bags on Friday!
TIPS FOR BACKPACK BUDDIES FOOD DRIVES
- Start with the food list: If you are hosting a food drive through a church, civic group or business, you can set it up in series of weeks. Week 1 Cereal collection, Week 2 Pop-top Meal collection, etc… This insures that the items needed are collected rather than random items we may not be able to use in our buddy bags.
- Partner up: Ask a local grocery store if you can setup a drive at the store. Have friends give out information about the collection as people go in so they can buy something extra. On the way out, collect the donated food items.
- Clean up with Competition: Setup a competition between classes or grades at your child’s school to see who can collect the most food. You can have a prize at the end for those who collected the most!
- Host a Movie Night: Charge a food item as the admission price. Some of our great partners setup food drop off displays at their businesses.
- Got an Event Coming Up? Holiday party, concert or game? You can ask if you can make a food item as the price of admission.
- Your Own Neighborhood: Many our most successful food drives have been done in local neighborhoods. Host it for a weekend, have a drop off spot at your house or let your neighbors leave it on their porch for you to pick up!
**VFS has signage and posters available upon request for your use. We want to help you have a successful food drive!
BACKPACK BUDDIES HIT LIST
|2012-2013 School List||In-Kind Donations/Grants &/or Sponsorship|
|1. Calera Elementary||United Methodist of Calera|
|2. Calera Intermediate||United Methodist of Calera|
|3. Chelsea Intermediate||Mountainview Baptist Church/Liberty Baptist Church|
|4. Creekview Elementary||Jr. League of Birmingham|
|5. Elvin Hill Elementary||Darden Foundation/Richard M. Scrushy Foundation|
|6. Helena Elementary||Helena United Methodist|
|7. Meadowview Elementary||Jr. League of Birmingham|
|8. Montevallo Intermediate||Jr. League of Birmingham|
|9. Shelby Elementary||Jr. League of Birmingham|
|10. Thompson Intermediate||Westwood Baptist|
|11. Valley Elementary||Valleydale Church|
|12. Vincent Elementary||First Christian Church|
|13. Vincent Middle||North Shelby Baptist Church/Vincent Baptist Church|
|14. Wilsonville Elementary||Wilsonville Baptist Church|
|15. Columbiana Middle||Central Office & Cornerstone Christian Academy|
|16. Thompson 6th Grade||CrossBridge Community Church|
Total students served: 344 Weekly
Other Partners: Alabama Power, Combat Fitness, The Richard C. Scrushy Foundation, Publix, Wal-Mart and The Darden Foundation