Our Mission

  • Ensure children facing hunger have enough food on weekends. 100% of participants receive free and reduced price breakfasts and lunches at school during the week.
  • Empower participants to feed themselves with nutritious food. Our registered dietician selects wholesome food that can be easily prepared by a child, including fresh fruit.
  • Have a broad impact on our participants’ overall well-being. Through annual survey responses, we know we achieve this goal each year. One teacher stated:

“CJ is always happy to get his backpack. His classroom participation has increased, and he is now reading on grade level. He seems to have more energy and is more involved in classroom activities. Backpack Buddy has made a difference in this child’s learning!”

In an effort to ensure our community’s children have enough to eat, Dare to Care started the Backpack Buddy program in 2004. Through this program, children at risk of hunger are given backpacks each Friday filled with nutritious food they can prepare themselves over the weekend when they do not have access to free or reduced-price meals provided at school. Today, Dare to Care serves 36 area schools, providing weekend food for more than 2,270 children each Friday.

What We Believe

How can a child faced with food insecurity focus on solving a math problem or being a positive force in the community when they are trying to ignore the persistent pangs of hunger?  You may be able to survive without a home.  You can live without a fancy car.  But you cannot survive and thrive without a sufficient amount of food! Watching children in our own community struggle with basic needs inspired the idea behind the cookbook.

“A Recipe to End Hunger” has all the ingredients needed to help solve this problem.  We are putting all those elements together to feed our most vulnerable and needy citizens when they may be left alone to solve the issue.  Join us in raising the needed funds and support for the weekend school backpack programs in our community that deliver nutritious food children can prepare themselves over the weekend when they do not have access to free or reduced-price meals provided at school.

Children are signed up for the weekend food assistance programs based on recommendations from their teachers and Family Resource Coordinators.  Each week, programs like Dare to Care assemble packs filled with nutritious, easy-to-prepare foods selected by the staff dietician.  The back packs are delivered to partner schools each Friday and the schools distribute the packs to participating students in a discreet manner.

The packs contain healthy foods the children can feed themselves to supplement often limited food available at their homes.  Examples of food items from Dare to Care Backpack Buddy include: fresh fruit, instant oatmeal, cereal, ready-to-eat entrees, shelf-stable milk, 100% fruit juice, sunflower seeds and fruit cups. Below is more information about Dare to Care and their Backpack Buddy Program.


Research shows inadequate nutrition puts children at risk not only physically, but emotionally, socially and even financially, due to the cost of nutrition-related health problems. Imagine the impact:

  • One in four seven-year-olds may be more focused on trading for food than about making friends.
  • One in four eight-year-olds may be more focused on hunger pains than on their teacher’s lessons.
  • One in four nine-year-olds may be more worried about food than about grades.
  • One in four ten-year-olds may realize they don’t have what they need to keep up with their peers.

While many of these children receive free and reduced-priced meals during the week, children from food-insecure homes are  often at even greater risk of hunger over the weekend. Living in homes where access to food – and even adult supervision – is often limited, these children often fend for themselves, making due without basic, nutritious staples until the school week starts again.


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“I went to bed hungry many nights as a child. It was a Dream that dressed me up when I was ragged, and it was a Dream that filled me up when I was hungry. Now it’s my Dream to see that no child in this world ever goes hungry, certainly not here in America, the most bountiful country in the world. We can do better…we must!”

Dolly Parton

“There are genuinely sufficient resources in the world to ensure that no one, nowhere, at no time, should go hungry.”

Ed Asner

“When people were hungry, Jesus didn’t say, “Now is that political, or social?” He said, “I feed you.” Because the good news to a hungry person is bread.”

Desmond Tutu

At Dare to Care, we are committed to helping these kids.

For more than four decades, Dare to Care Food Bank has been leading our community to feed the hungry and conquer the cycle of need. Through our Backpack Buddy program, we provide children at risk of weekend hunger with backpacks filled with nutritious food they can prepare for themselves over the weekend. We’ve been doing this since 2004 and teachers and parents see positive results in all areas of participants’ well-being.

However, we cannot do it without the support of caring and committed partners like you. We invite you to join us in helping other young people in our community to fulfill their potential by providing weekend food to local students at risk of hunger. Your gift of $6,000 in support of Backpack Buddy will provide weekend packs of nutritious food for 50 children at a local school throughout the school year.

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