Food 4 Kids Backpack Program

New_Food4Kids_LogoThe Food 4 Kids Backpack Program provides weekend food packages to chronically hungry elementary school students from low-income households who are at risk of hunger over the weekend when free school meals are unavailable.Every Friday afternoon students on the program are called out of class, often to the school nurse’s office, and discretely given a bag of food which is tucked into their backpacks.Each bag contains enough food to see the students through the weekend, and the discreet distributions remove the stigma that might be attached to the program.

How are children selected for the program?

School staff members identify students who display signs of chronic hunger. Warning signs include stomach aches, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, hoarding food from the cafeteria, and absenteeism. Once a child has been identified as “chronically hungry,” a referral form is sent to the Food Bank and the student’s parents are sent a permission slip to enroll the student in the program.What food items are included in the backpack?

Food items include peanut butter; beans and franks; ravioli or stew in pop-top cans; soup; fruit bars; cereal; tuna fish pouches; juice boxes; fruit cups; raisins; granola bars; shelf-stable milk; and macaroni and cheese.

Which schools are eligible to participate on the program?

Any San Diego County public school with 80% or more of the school’s student population participating in a free or subsidized school meal program.


What documents are required to enroll a student?

All participating schools are required to submit a referral form for every student enrolled in the program. F4K Referral Form

Each child must return a signed permission slip to participate in the program from his or her parent or guardian. F4K Permission Slip

How many schools are currently enrolled in the program?

33 San Diego County elementary schools are currently enrolled in the program. The program currently feeds 1,633 students each week at the following schools:


Audubon Elementary San Diego
Alvin Dunn Elementary San Marcos
Balboa Elementary San Diego
Bobier Elementary Vista
Calvin J. Lauderbach Elementary Chula Vista
Cherokee Point Elementary San Diego
Chollas Meade Elementary San Diego
Daniel Boone Elementary San Diego
Edison Elementary San Diego
Field Elementary San Diego
Garfield Elementary San Diego
Harborside Elementary Chula Vista
Herbert Ibarra Elementary San Diego
John Adams Elementary San Diego
Kimbrough Elementary San Diego
Kimball Elementary National City
Libby Elementary Oceanside
Lincoln Elementary Escondido
Linda Vista Elementary San Diego
Maryland Elementary Vista
Mary Fay Pendleton Elementary Camp Pendleton
MCAS Miramar Youth and Teen Center MCAS Miramar
Mission Elementary Oceanside
John Montgomery Elementary Vista
Ocean Beach Elementary San Diego
Potrero Elementary Potrero
San Marcos Elementary San Marcos
Sherman Elementary San Diego
Stuart Mesa Elementary Camp Pendleton
Sunset Elementary San Ysidro
San Miguel Elementary La Mesa/Lemon Grove
Vista La Mesa Elementary La Mesa
Vista Square Elementary Chula Vista


How much does it cost to feed a child for a year?

  • $198 = 1 school year (36 weekends)
  • $22 = 1 month (4 weekends)
  • $5.50 = 1 weekend


How can I help fund a child or school on the program?

Contact the Food Bank at 1-858-527-1419

How can my school participate in the Food 4 Kids Backpack Program?

Establishing a new site is based upon availability and funding. If you are interested in having your elementary school participate in the Backpack Program, please submit an application to the Food Bank. Your application will be reviewed and placed on a waiting list. Admittance to the program is based on funding and the order in which applications are received.

Use the following link to fill out the Food 4 Kids Backpack Program Monthly Report.

If you have any questions, concerns or want to follow up on an application that has already been submitted, please contact Daniela Solano, Food 4 Kids Backpack Program Supervisor at 1-858-863-5143 or