Heritage Bank Makes an Investment in Kids

Donation underwrites student nutrition program through Community Food Bank

The Hollister branch of Heritage Bank of Commerce this week directed a $500 contribution toward Community Food Bank’s School Backpack Bag program.

Will Sutton, senior vice president for Heritage, dropped by Community Food Bank on Tuesday to personally present the check.

The Backpack Bag program fills a weekly gap in student nutrition by providing local school children with an assortment of nutritious foods every Friday. 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 nutritious 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 eight. 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.

It costs $156 to give a weekly backpack bag to a student for an entire school year.  In addition to Heritage Bank’s grant, Wells Fargo’s and United Way of San Benito County are supporting the program. 

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.

Mark Paxton

I've been at this most of my life, and it still fascinates and challenges me. San Benito County can be a cruel mistress at times, but we can share in our love for her, even with all her quirks.