Wells Fargo Bank recently announced that it is directing a $10,000 grant to help fund Community Food Bank’s Friday Backpack Bag program, which fills a critical gap in student nutrition by providing local school children with an assortment of nutritious foods every Friday.
“Wells Fargo’s support of this program demonstrates the bank’s commitment to the well-being of the entire community,” said Maria Thomas, chief executive officer at Community Food Bank.
School nutrition programs operate Monday through Friday, serving breakfast and lunch to qualifying students. Food Bank’s Backpack Bag effort is intended to help ensure that students have a reliable source of food through the weekend as well.
More than one child in four in San Benito County lacks a reliable, consistent source of nutritionally adequate food, and seven of the eleven schools in Hollister School District report that all students enrolled qualify for free breakfast and lunch programs.
Backpack bags are available to San Benito County students enrolled in grades kindergarten through eighth. Students are selected for the program by their teachers.
Each week, bags are dispensed during the school day. Each backpack bag contains kid-friendly, easy-open, ready-to-eat, nutritious food. Typical contents are two single-serving bowls of cereal, granola bars, fruit cup or applesauce, dried fruit, nuts or trail mix, single servings of peanut butter and cheese and crackers or peanut butter and crackers.
Christine White, principal at Calaveras School, recently reported that students in the program are coming to school on Monday mornings more alert and eager to participate in class. It costs $156 to give a weekly backpack bag to a student for an entire school year. Wells Fargo’s donation will allow 64 students to enroll in the program. In addition to Wells Fargo’s grant, United Way of San Benito County is supporting the program with its own $5,500 grant this year.
By the end of the last school year, 300 local students were receiving weekly backpack bags. With a goal of at least matching that figure this year, the staff at Community Food Bank continues to welcome new underwriters for the Friday Backpack Bag program.
For further information about the program, call Community Food Bank at (831)637-0340.