Filling backpacks to fill stomachs
N.Y. (October 13, 2016) --
Thanks to the generosity of the community, a
program to provide hungry kids with food on weekends has expanded to
all elementary and middle schools in the City School District of
“On behalf of our district, I
simply say, ‘thank you,'” said Interim Superintendent Kimberly Wilkins,
Ed.D. at the Thursday news conference announcing the expansion.
Hungry children get sick more
often, leading them to miss class and fall behind in their learning,
said Dr. Wilkins (pictured at right). School breakfast and
lunch programs help, but that’s not an option on the weekend.
Enter the Weekend Backpack Food
Each Friday during the school
year, the program will send home a backpack stuffed with healthy food to
455 children who are “food insecure” – meaning they don’t have regular
access to food.
“Research has shown that
students that are able to get nutritious, healthy food through these
programs have seen an increase in attendance, increased test scores,
reduced behavior issues and a greater attention span. How can we not
support this program that has the potential to have a direct, positive
impact on so many students and their families?” Dr. Wilkins said.
After the news conference, Dr. Wilkins,
Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Lori McKenna, Assemblywoman
Patricia Fahy and others joined community groups to stuff backpacks with
nutritious food. (In the photo below, Fahy and Dr. Wilkins stock
The Weekend Backpack Food
Program is a partnership between the Homeless
and Travelers Aid Society, the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New
York, the Albany Fund for Education, the Junior League of Albany and
other community stakeholders.
Through their collective fundraising efforts, they intend to provide 455
Albany students across all 15 elementary and middle schools with
backpacks full of food every Friday afternoon throughout the 2016-17
school year. The backpacks will include three entrees, one loaf of
bread, two juice boxes, fresh fruits, and two snacks.
A voucher for a gallon of milk will be
distributed on a biweekly basis, and canned vegetables will be sent home
once every month, all of which can be provided for an annual cost of
only $239 for each child.
The Backpack Program has enjoyed success
in Schenectady over the past few years, with the program being linked to
an increase in attendance rates and a decrease in disciplinary issues.
Noticing the high percentage of district
students receiving free and reduced lunch, community partners teamed up
in 2013 to begin fundraising efforts to bring the Backpack Food Program
to Albany. Since then, their coalition has raised nearly $50,000.
They plan to provide more students with
backpacks each year, with the ultimate goal of servicing 1,025 students
by the start of the 2019-2020 school year.
For more information or to
make a donation, contact
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit
The mission of the City School District of
Albany is to educate and prepare all students for
college and career, citizenship and life, in partnership with our
diverse community. The district serves
more than 9,600
students in 17
elementary, middle and high schools. In addition to neighborhood
schools, the district includes several magnet schools and programs, as
well as other innovative academic opportunities for students,
including four themed academies at Albany High