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.