Backpacks combat student hunger
Bedford Area School District cares for the needs of the whole child by ensuring students have access to health food not only during the week, but also on the weekend. According to the district website, 42% of elementary and middle school students in Bedford Area SD receive free and reduced meals. Also, 23% of Bedford County children are considered to be food insecure. The Weekend Backpack Program, administered by the Bison Weekend Backpack Committee, was formed to meet the food needs of these children when school breakfast and lunch is not available.
The program provides participating students with backpacks that contain single-serving food items they can take home with them on Friday to eat over the weekend. Typically, each bag contains two breakfast items, two lunch items and two dinner items, in addition to snacks. When there is a longer school break, additional food is added. Parents can submit a brief form requesting that their child receive a backpack.
During the 2018-19 school year, about 140 students were served with approximately 5,000 backpacks. Food and financial support were provided by dozens of community organizations, and faculty, staff and parents in the district.