Program fights food insecurity for area students
Canned pasta, applesauce, apple juice, fruit and granola bars, fruit snacks, microwaveable macaroni and cheese.
These were the contents of a recent plastic sack kit placed discretely into children’s backpacks at school “so the other kids don’t know who’s getting it,” as part of the Backpack Program that is run through the Northeast Iowa Food Bank.
New Hampton school nurse Linda Tiemessen helps administer the program.
The Backpack Program offers non-perishable, kid-friendly convenience food to any school-age child regardless of proof of need and at no cost to the school districts.
“It doesn’t cost us anything at all, that’s the awesome part. They deliver them to us already bagged, all we’ve got to do is hand them out,” Tiemessen said.
“They’re not complete meals, but it’s supposed to get them through the weekend. Often on holiday weekends, we’ll even send two bags for the extra days off,” she said.
The program recently received a $3,500 grant from Variety - the Children’s Charity, sponsor Northeast Iowa Food Bank announced. Last year, the Backpack Program delivered over 125,000 bags of food to hungry children in over 100 schools, such as New Hampton, in 16 northeast Iowa counties.
— For more on this story, see the Oct. 9 New Hampton Tribune.