Bridge the Hunger Gap With a Friday Backpack!
How you can be engaged:
- Watch for information about Mr. Whitman activities through the month of October including two bag building events on Whitman College Campus and the Mr. Whitman Pageant on November 4th. Mr. Whitman is a fundraiser of the Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority on Whitman Campus. They have selected the Backpack Bridge project as their charity this year.
- Sponsor one of eight Bag Building Events where you recruit 25-30 people to come together and build a month’s worth (2,000) of food bags.
- Volunteer to transport food bags to a Walla Walla Valley elementary school.
About the Backpack Program:
Currently, one third of the population we serve is under the age of 18. The problem is that children who face very low food security are more likely to report 4 or more Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) leading to lifelong struggles with emotional, physical and spiritual health. Reports of physical and emotional abuse are shown to be significantly associated with very low food security. These children have lower test scores and poorer comprehension of basic reading and math skills. They are often labeled as 'troubled' as they frequently are plagued by lack of attention, outbursts, and hyperactivity. They have stunted growth, higher rates of acute and chronic illnesses, much higher rates of obesity and type-2 diabetes, as well as cavities and weak enamel. They miss more school than their more food- secure counterparts and are more often required to enroll in summer school or to repeat a grade. Further reading about the psychology of food insecure children can be found at the following links:
Link Between Childhood Adversity and Food Insecurity
Psychological Effects of Hunger on Children
For each of the past three years, we have built and distributed 300 to 360 bags of food to food insecure students right before both winter and spring breaks. During the school week these students receive free or reduced cost meals from the school, but go hungry during those extended breaks from the school meal program. To enhance the effectiveness of our child hunger initiative BMAC expanded the goal to also provide Friday food packs to students every weekend during the spring of 2017. During the spring of 2017 we provided 18% (91 backpacks) of the goal for the 2017-2018 school year.
This year, we intend to expand the distribution of the Friday Backpack program from five elementary schools to all twelve elementary schools in Walla Walla County and provide weekend nutrition for 20% (492 backpacks) of the kids eligible for free and reduced cost meals at those schools. To reach our goal we need to raise $78,720. Each pack of food costs $4 and provides two breakfasts, two lunches and snacks. Each student requires one pack of food for each of the forty Fridays of the school year totaling $160 per student per school year. Sponsoring all 492 students for one week would cost $1,968. The Backpack Bridge fundraiser will help fund the expansion of this program.