Our Mission : BackPack Program

The BackPack program of The Greater Boston Food Bank provides nutritious, easy-to-prepare food to over 1,500 children monthly to ensure they get enough food on weekends and holidays, when they can’t depend on school meals to avoid hunger.

Children learn better when they're well fed. With many parents trying to choose between paying rent and buying enough food to feed their kids, sometimes their children don’t get enough healthy food to eat at home.

Since 2009, GBFB's BackPack program has been working with select schools to distribute high-quality, nutrient-rich packs of food to children in school districts where a high-percentage of students qualify for free or reduced price school meals. These children are given easy-to-prepare food to take home over a long weekend or other school break when they might be at-risk of going hungry.

Ann Garafalo, the principal at a school participating in the program says, "The BackPack Program is critical to the healthy development and academic success of the children in our school. The program helps make sure they receive the healthy food they need when away from school so they return on Monday ready to learn."

Currently, the program distributes 3,358 packs each month. Major support for the program comes from: Target, Liberty Mutual Foundation, Morgan Stanley Foundation, Adobe Foundation, BNY Mellon and Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation. The BackPack Program currently has one direct food donor, Welch's Juices, which provides 100% juice for each of the bags.

Contact programs@gbfb.org or 617-427-5200 to learn more about the BackPack Program.

Fast Facts

  • The BackPack Program concept was developed at the Arkansas Rice Depot in Little Rock, after a school nurse asked for help because hungry students were coming to her with stomachaches and dizziness.
  • Today, bags of food assembled at more than 150 Feeding America members are distributed at the end of the week to nearly 230,000 children every year.
  • In a recent survey of over 100 parents, 88% reported an improvement in the overall well-being of their child since the beginning of the BackPack program. In addition, 76% of parents reported that the program helps to extend their family's food budget.
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