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Food Bank BackPack Program

BackPack Program The Food Bank BackPack Program began during the 2004-05 school year at Clinton Elementary School, sending home food-filled backpacks on Friday afternoons with 50 kids. The program quickly took off and now is serving hundreds of students. The BackPack Program's mission is to help alleviate child hunger in southeast Nebraska by providing hungry children with nutritious and easy to prepare food at times when other resources are not available, such as weekends and school vacations.

The BackPack Program continues to provide backpacks filled with food to students in need of food over the weekend. The program primarily targets students who qualify for their school's Free Lunch Program. Many of these students rely on their school's breakfasts and lunches for their most nutritious meals of the day. In some cases, these are their only meals of the day. These students are then faced with a food crisis over the weekend. The BackPack Program is a way to help these students and their families until students return to school on Monday.

Support the BackPack Program

It takes a lot of strong financial support and hundreds of volunteers to make the Food Bank BackPack Program happen. The food used for the Food Bank BackPack Program consists of purchased food to ensure a consistent supply of food for each backpack. Various menus include peanut butter and jelly, concentrated fruit juice, boxes of cereal, macaroni and cheese, canned fruits and vegetables along with bread and egg vouchers. Students in Lincoln receive two pieces of fresh fruit weekly and a voucher for a gallon of milk once a month thanks in part to the Community Health Endowment.

Please join the Food Bank, Lincoln Public Schools and our rural communities in our work to feed hungry children and their families.

Here's how you can help:

  1. Sponsor a student for a week, a semester, a year or longer.
    • The cost to supply one child with a backpack for one school year is $250.
    • To sponsor a child for a semester is $125.
    • To sponsor a child for a month is $29.
    • The cost to sponsor one child for a week is $7.35.
    Provide Financial Support
  2. Donate a backpack or coordinate a backpack drive (backpacks must be gender neutral with two straps and large enough to hold a box of cereal). For more information contact Jason Helgren.
  3. The Food Bank of Lincoln accepts food donations at 4840 Doris Bair Circle,
    Monday - Friday 8:00am - 4:30pm.
Please Note:
We have to purchase all the food that goes in to our backpacks.  Therefore, any food donated specifically for our backpack program will be distributed throughout our Child Hunger Programs (LPS Emergency Pantry and Food Markets).

LPS Emergency Pantry

In addition the Food Bank sponsors the LPS Emergency Pantry in cooperation with Lincoln Public Schools. Any LPS family in need of food can utilize the Emergency Pantry once per month. The pantry is open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 3:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Learn More »»

List of Schools

Currently, the BackPack Program sends 2,966 backpacks home to students on Friday afternoons, 31% Rural and 69% Lincoln, in 42 Lincoln Public Schools, 5 Lincoln Catholic Schools, 28 rural communities, and 1 Childcare Center in Southeast Nebraska.

+ See the list of schools »»

6 Different Menus for the Food Bank BackPack Program

The program rotates six different menus throughout the school year. The goal of the BackPack Program is to supply a student and his or her family with four to five meals per menu. Although the Food Bank BackPack Program serves over 3,500 children, the need is great and there are still more hungry children in our community. Census figures for 2011 reveal there are 20,140 children under the age of 18 who are dealing with "food insecurity" (not knowing when/where there next meal will come from). There are currently more than 15,000 Lincoln Public School students who are enrolled in the Free/Reduced Lunch Program.

+ See the different menus »»

Other Information

+ See the List of BackPack Partners

Click here for a Feeding America video on the BackPack program.

Learn about the BackPack Extra Mile Walk.

Need Help?

For immediate assistance, please call:


Monday - Friday 8:00am - 4:30pm

For infants and young children, the effects of chronic malnutrition in the early years of life are largely irreversible.
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