Children who eat consistent, healthy meals concentrate better in school, build better bonds with their peers, miss less school due to illness, and score higher on standardized tests. Food security is a key to success, but there are children in our community wondering if they will have enough food to eat today.
The USDA defines food insecurity as meaning “consistent access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources at times during the year.” Missouri is ranked among the top ten states in the nation for food insecurity. And between 2000 and 2010, Missouri had the single largest increase in the percent of its population who is food insecure or experiences very low food security.
The neediest girls and boys in our area count on school lunch and breakfast programs to keep them going. In fact, over 1,000 children in Livingston County qualify for free or reduced lunches. But these vital programs don’t help them when the weekend comes and they’re home with an empty refrigerator. BackPack Buddies is designed to fill in the gap.
In partnership with Second Harvest Community Food Bank and Grand River Vocational Technical School, the Grand River YMCA's BackPack Buddies program provides easy to serve breakfasts, lunches, and snacks to more than 150 needy children each weekend during the school year, including extended breaks. The program is funded by the generous gifts of Y members and community supporters.
If you would like to support the BackPack Buddies program or if you believe your child would benefit from participating in the program, please email
Shawn Hurtgen, Y-PALS and Christian Outreach Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Y at (660) 646-6677.