We invite you to join our community to raise money for BackPack Meals! It is simple…On Friday, February 5th, make a donation of your choice to the BackPack Meals Program. Then show your support by wearing your favorite team jersey for any sport or team. You will be supporting your favorite team and fighting hunger in our community at the same time!
A LITTLE ABOUT THE BACKPACK PROGRAM.
The mission of the BackPack Program is to meet the needs of students who are struggling with hunger outside of the classroom by providing them with nutritious and easy to prepare food to take home over weekends and extended school breaks when other resources are not available to them. A total of 265-275 elementary students receive BackPack meals each Friday in Billings Public Schools, an additional 300+ students benefit through Teen Pantries in our middle and high schools. The cost of a BackPack meal is $4.25 per student per week.
Teen Pantries are located in each of our middle and high schools for students in need. Students who are struggling with food insecurity outside of school are able to access the pantries to take food and personal hygiene items they need. The food provided is nutritious and easy for students to prepare. The teen pantry in each school is located in a secure and private area where students can access the support without fellow students knowing they are receiving assistance.
SO WHAT IS 406 JERSEY DAY?
The goal of the 406 Jersey Day is to increase awareness about the program in each school and the community, as well as raise additional funds to help support the program. With additional funds, coordinators are able to supplement bags with additional needs such as fresh foods and milk, toiletry items, and community resource information to further aid students and their families.
HOW YOU HELP YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY.
The Billings BackPack Meals and Teen Pantry Programs continue to experience strong demand during the pandemic. We work with our educators, administrators, and community partners to identify and provide support to our students in need. Our community partnerships include the SD2 Homeless Student Liaison, Indian Education for All coordinators, and Tumbleweed counselors.
In Montana, 15.9% of children face hunger every day. Together we can change that. Students who are worried about their next meal often are unable to focus in school on their education. By removing this stress through BackPack Meals and Teen Pantries, we are able to help students focus on their education.
“What it does not only for students but also for families is to provide consistent, reliable support without judgment,” Joe Walsh, Newman Elementary Principal shared. "Parents are given the opportunity to opt into the program, and to opt-out, if they no longer need it. Families will responsibly call us and say ‘it’s been helpful, but we’re good now and we want you to help another family in need.” (editorial, Billings Gazette, Jan. 16, 2020)
Principal Clay Herron has seen the need for BackPack Meals double during his tenure at Ponderosa Elementary where 100% of students receive free or reduced-price breakfast and lunch due to low family incomes. BackPack Meals help the neediest 70 students out of 307 Ponderosa students. (editorial, Billings Gazette, Jan. 16, 2020)
“There will be less stress on kids if they know there’s food there. They are happier. The kids are excited to get the backpack meals,” shared Principal Herron. (editorial, Billings Gazette, Jan. 16, 2020)
Thank you for your continued support of the BackPack Meals and Teen Pantry programs. Keeping our students in school and assisting with the basic necessities allows them to focus on their education.
Thank you! Questions? Contact the Education Foundation for Billings Public Schools at 406.281.5149 or via email at [email protected]