Healthy Kids Network Backpack Program


Healthy Kids Network Backpack Program

The Healthy Kids Network (HKN) Backpack Program addresses the basic needs of students in Licking County by providing carriers of nutritious and easy-to-prepare food to take home on weekends when other resources may not be available. While free and reduced breakfast and lunch are available during the school week, unreliable access to food over the weekends can affect the level of food insecurity experienced by the student, increasing stress and decreasing productivity. Children who are hungry simply cannot concentrate to learn, have low energy, and reduced ability to fight off common childhood illnesses.

HKN launched the Back Pack Pilot Program in January 2015. 65 elementary students in one Newark school were served weekend meals. By 2016, the program has expanded to six additional schools in need, serving nearly 300 students per week.

There are several advantages in the way the Backpack Program addresses the needs of hungry children:

  • Referrals are made by Teacher, School Social Worker, Administrator, School Health Aide, and other staff who are in a position to identify hungry children.
  • Children are not stigmatized because the food is given to them discretely.
  • Food gets directly and immediately into the hands of hungry children.
  • Children receive food that is appropriate for them to eat and meets many nutritional requirements.
  • Children receive food with no questions asked and without bureaucratic requirements.

If you would like to find out more about the Healthy Kids Network or how you can help, please contact Ed Bohren at 740-349-9688 or edward.bohren@lcfymca.org.