The Backpack Program Celebrates a Decade of Feeding Kids

SUPERIOR, Wis.– For some kids, school breakfast and lunches are their best access to food but what about the weekends?

One Superior organization has been answering that call for the last 10 years. It started out as a way to give families food over Christmas but it’s now been feeding children in the Northland for the last decade.

The Backpack Program is a national program created by Feeding America in 1995 to fight child hunger over the weekends. When the Superior School District noticed a need among children in the area, the Backpack Program was launched locally in 2010. It’s a joint effort between the school district, the National Bank of Commerce, and the United Way of Superior and Douglas County.

“We do see a higher rate of food insecurity among children in the region that we serve compared to the state averages of Minnesota and Wisconsin,” said Shaye Moris, Executive Director of Second Harvest Northland Area Food Bank. “It’s really important that we’re filling that weekend need.”

When the program first started, food was being packed in the National Bank of Commerce. Now the Backpack Program has grown from feeding kids in Superior to the entire Northland and has seen plenty of help from the community.

“We started with local community members giving donations and then stuffing those bags,” said Nicky Wilson, Coordinator of Family Support Services for the Superior School District. “Now the great thing is the partnership that we have with Second Harvest and they’re able to stuff in a big quantity of bags for months at a time and it’s just expanded to serve so many more school districts and so many kids and families in the community which is just great.”

Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank is looking for volunteers to help pack bags of food for kids. To get in contact with the food bank to volunteer or to give a donation, check out their website.

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