HRDC

KidsPack Program

 

Program Overview

The KidsPack Program mission is to increase the number of area children who have access to healthy foods, and to increase knowledge about nutrition and healthy lifestyles.

The KidsPack Program aims to end hunger for area children by picking up where state-funded programs leave off. Through the KidsPack Program nutritionally balanced, kid-friendly foods are packed and distributed to local school children every Friday during the school year.

Instead of overlapping with the efforts of area Food Banks, the KidsPack program meets the food needs of children who might otherwise go hungry over the weekends.

The Need

The KidsPack Program reaches as many as 800 children each week in seven schools throughout Gallatin County. There are more than 3,000 (28%) school-aged children in Gallatin County who are eligible for free or reduced priced meals. Our goal is to assist all area children for whom government programs are not enough.

Program Impact

A 2009-10 school-level evaluation of the KidsPack program noted multiple benefits for participating students well-being including:

  • better relationships with school staff and/or other students,
  • feeling more secure,
  • more interest in school, and;
  • fewer behavior problems (healthier).

Additionally, schools report participating students demonstrate a better and more trusting relationship with school personnel and/or other students. Because the educational environment improves as behavioral problems within a classroom community declines, many of these benefits could be affecting all the students in the classroom and not just the children participating in the program.

A statement from an elementary school secretary provides a clear image of the domestic situations some children live and the extent to which the KidsPack foods are helping:

…there are children that take care of themselves.  Their parents are never home, either because they are working, looking for work, or just neglectful. I would see these children come to school on Monday mornings, dirty and starving, for both food and attention.   Here at school we can try our best to give the kids attention and food they need, but only when they are here.  When the food in your KidsPack program started, these children were looking forward to weekends, whereas before they dreaded Fridays because they knew there wasn’t going to be a good meal again until Monday.

Here’s what the kids are saying about the program:

When asked “how having the KidsPack food helps them” here were some of the responses:

  • Helps keep food in my tummy and helps me think.
  • What I don’t eat right away we save and use quite a bit.  We can save the food for when we really need them.  I have 5 brothers and 3 sisters and I share it with them if there is something they like. None of the food goes to waste. We use everything. 
  • I like it because I know there will be food for dinner
  • Helps my dad with bills he has to pay. 
  • My parents are concerned with having enough food so the food we get helps a lot.  I have three little sisters and brothers that are not in school and I wish they could get some of the snack packs.

Interested in supporting the KidsPack Program?

Make a financial contribution by clicking here
For other fundraising ideas or for more information about the program contact our Childhood Nutrition Program Coordinator, Lyra Leigh-Nedbor at lyra@gallatinvalleyfoodbank.org

A special thank you to the Yellowstone Club Community Foundation
for your generous support of the KidsPack Program

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