Supporting the Feeding America food banks and their affiliates serving Iowa in their work to ensure that sufficient food is accessible to all.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Backpack Program

There are children in America that rely on resources such as free or reduced-priced school lunch during the school year.

The BackPack Program is designed to meet the needs of hungry children at times when other resources are not available, such as weekends and school vacations.

About the BackPack Program

  • Backpacks filled with food that children take home on weekends
  • Food is child-friendly, nonperishable and easily consumed
  • Backpacks are discreetly distributed to children on the last day before the weekend or holiday vacation

The BackPack Concept
The BackPack Program concept was developed at the Arkansas Rice Depot, after a school nurse asked for help because hungry students were coming to her with stomachaches and dizziness. The local food bank began to provide the school children with groceries in non-descript backpacks to carry home.

More About this Program
In addition to providing nutritious food to school children in need, some BackPack Programs provide extra food for younger siblings at home. Others operate during the summer months when children are out of school and have limited access to free or reduced-priced meals.

  • The BackPack Program became a pilot program in 1995. The National Council of Feeding America approved the BackPack Program as an official national program of the Network in July 2006.
  • More than 140 Feeding America members operated more than 3,600 BackPack Programs and served more than 190,000 children in FY2009.

Get Involved
Check out the BackPack Program at the following Iowa food banks to get involved:

Food Bank of Iowa
Des Moines, IA

Northeast Iowa Food Bank
Waterloo, IA

Food Bank of Siouxland
Sioux City, IA

Food Bank for the Heartland
Omaha, NE

River Bend Foodbank
Moline, IL

HACAP
Cedar Rapids, IA

Food Bank of Southern Iowa
Ottumwa, IA

St. Stephen's Food Bank
Dubuque, IA

The Latest News

  October 16, 2017By Pat Curtis An organization that fights hunger across the state has a new leader. The Iowa Food Bank Association used today’s opening of World Food Prize events in Des Moines to introduce a new executive director. Regenea Hurte says she faces a significant challenge. “We have about 10 percent of the population of Iowa that is...
Des Moines, Iowa (October 5, 2015) – Many Iowans don’t get enough to eat and struggle to put enough food on the table. These Iowans include children, working adults, and older or persons with disabilities who may be eligible for Iowa Food Assistance Program benefits but haven’t yet applied for the program. Beginning today, Iowans can call the new...

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