Backpack Buddy program helps fill weekend ‘food gap’

HISD Nutrition Services and the Houston Food Bank have been working together since 2014 to deliver extra food to needy students through the latter’s “Backpack Buddy” program. Its goal is to fill the food gap that exists at certain students’ homes over the weekends. Last year, about 89 schools participated. This year, that number has increased to 101, making this partnership a lifeline for disadvantaged HISD students.

“It’s really sad,” said HISD Dietitian Nan Cramer. “We have children who come in Monday morning starving because their last meal was the previous Friday afternoon in school.”

The district recently received its first 25 pallets of food for distribution. And last Friday, students at participating campuses were discreetly issued their food sacks, so that they could enjoy healthy, nourishing meals even after school hours.

“The bags contain cereals, milk, canned goods, and other food items that are easy to make in minutes,” Cramer said. “This year, we will be adding fun recipes that can be made with the items inside the bag for a quick and nourishing meal.”

The Backpack Buddy program is supported through donations from the public to the Houston Food Bank.

Principals: For information about how to participate in the Backpack Buddy program, please email or call 832-369-9205.