SAN ANGELO, Texas — There are children in the Concho Valley who sometimes don’t know where their next meal will come from. The Concho Valley Regional Food Bank’s “Backpack Program” gets food home with children for the weekends.
“Beyond today, tomorrow and later down the road they don’t know where their next meals are coming from,” said Lee Pipkin, Executive Director of the Concho Valley Regional Food Bank.
In Texas, 1 out of every 4 school children suffers from food insecurities. To fight hunger in the area, the Concho Valley Regional Food Bank offers needy children the “Backpack Program.”
“This is a program that helps supplement food over the weekends. When they come to school on Monday morning, they are more nutrition-sound and ready to work,” explained Pipkin.
On Fridays before they go home for the weekend, children who need it receive a bag with a protein, milk, juice and fruit. Last year, the program gave out an average of 800 bags to students each week.
“We get notes saying, ‘thank you for providing this,’ ‘thank you for the juice and the milk,'” added Pipkin.
Pipkin said that since the program began, schools have seen positive changes.
“We’ve seen an increase in grades and an increase in attendance on Friday’s when we distribute the sacks. They all want to make sure they get their bag to take home,” continued Pipkin.
According to Pipkin, the program is a group effort. It began in 2005 through a partnership with the Junior League of San Angelo, who still helps deliver the bags to schools. Students who are a part of a special needs program through SAISD help pack the hundreds of bags that are distributed every week.
“They come and volunteer with us on a regular basis. They come in and pack backpacks, or sort foods. It’s a job skills training program for them,”