“…I want to thank you for the help that I received with the bag of food. For me it is a great help because my husband is not here. In this way you help me to give food to my children. God bless you for the great help you are to my family.” Parent
“Thank you so much for the food. We are nine in my family. I have not been able to work much since COVID. The food bags make a difference for us.” Parent
“I am so glad we are able to provide the BPB food to our students. It is very hard to tell who needs food. Having the program makes it easier for the students to ask because they see their friends getting a backpack and they know it is possible for them to get one too.” Teacher
“I like the mac & cheese the best.” 3rd grader
“Can you make sure I get more of the good blue drink?” 4th grader
Providing food for schoolchildren in need
Due to rising poverty levels in the Atlanta area, more and more individuals and families can barely make ends meet; many are homeless, living in shelters, short term motels, cars or with other families. The Covid-19 crisis has made the fulfillment of basic needs even more difficult.
Some studies show that one in six children in America goes hungry. When schools are in session, school breakfasts, lunches and snack programs address this crisis. However, the weekend remains a difficult time for many families because they are unable to consistently purchase and provide nutritious food.
Assistance League of Atlanta’s new program, Backpack Buddies, fills the weekend hunger gap by providing food for students who might otherwise lack meals over the weekend. These students, selected by school counselors, take home on Fridays a backpack of healthy meals and snacks, making it possible for each student to return to school on Monday mornings fed and ready to learn.
Assistance League purchases, stores and packs the food into plastic bags and delivers bags to the school where parent volunteers fill the backpacks and hand them out. The students return the backpacks on Monday in order to receive food the following Friday.
Each backpack contains:
- Four proteins
- Four vegetables
- Two servings of milk
- Two servings of juice
- Two breakfast items
- Two snacks
Currently we serve Dresden Elementary School in Dekalb County. Our budget for the 2020-21 school year will allow us to serve 50 students. The cost per student for 30 weeks is $185.00 including the backpack. If the students do not return to the actual school building due to the pandemic, we will deliver bags of food each week to a central location.
During the summer months, when the children had no access to meals or snacks at school, Assistance League served 30 students by delivering 120 bags of food per month to an area church for distribution to the families.