Food 4 Kids Backpack Program

The Food 4 Kids Backpack Program, established in 2006, 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?

Nutritious food items include:

– Milk
– Juice
– Soup
– Veggie chili
– Tuna salad
– Crackers
– Granola
– Mac & beef
– Instant soup
– Oatmeal
– Spaghetti
– Sauce
– Rice
– Canned chicken
– Fruit bars
– Pancake mix
– Fruit squeezers
– Graham crackers

 

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 can join the Food 4 Kids Backpack Program.

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.

If you have any questions, concerns or want to follow up on an application that has already been submitted, please contact Shelly Parks at 858-863-5203 or at dperez@sandiegofoodbank.org.

How many schools are currently enrolled in the program?

56 San Diego County elementary schools in 14 school districts are currently enrolled in the program. The program currently feeds 2,800 students each week at the following schools:

School Name School District
America’s Finest Charter School San Diego Unified School District
Avondale Elementary La Mesa-Spring Valley School District
Balboa Elementary San Diego Unified School District
Borrego Springs Elementary Borrego Springs Unified School District
Calvin J. Lauderbach Elementary Chula Vista Elementary School District
Central Elementary Escondido Union School District
Cesar Chavez Elementary San Diego Unified School District
Cherokee Point Elementary San Diego Unified School District
Chollas/Meade Elementary San Diego Unified School District
Del Rio Elementary Oceanside Unified School District
Edison Elementary San Diego Unified School District
Encanto Elementary San Diego Unified School District
Fallbrook STEM Academy Elementary Fallbrook Union Elementary School District
Farr Avenue Elementary Escondido Union School District
Feaster Charter School Chula Vista Elementary School District
Felicita Elementary Escondido Union School District
Field Elementary San Diego Unified School District
Foothill Oak Elementary Vista Unified School District
Franklin Elementary San Diego Unified School District
Fred H. Rohr Elementary Chula Vista Elementary School District
Harborside Elementary Chula Vista Elementary School District
Herbert Ibarra Elementary San Diego Unified School District
John Adams Elementary San Diego Unified School District
John Montgomery Elementary Chula Vista Elementary School District
Joli Ann Elementary San Marcos Unified School District
Joyner Elementary School San Diego Unified School District
Juarez-Lincoln Elementary Chula Vista Elementary School District
Kimbrough Elementary San Diego Unified School District
King Chavez of Excellence San Diego Unified School District
La Mirada Academy San Marcos Unified School District
Laurel Elementary Oceanside Unified School District
Libby Elementary Oceanside Unified School District
Lillian J. Rice Elementary Chula Vista Elementary School District
Los Penasquitos Elementary Poway Unified School District
Maryland Elementary Vista Unified School District
Midland Elementary Poway Unified School District
Mission Elementary Oceanside Unified School District
Oak Hill Elementary Escondido Union School District
Oak Park Music Conservatory San Diego Unified School District
Otay Elementary Chula Vista Elementary School District
Palomar Elementary Chula Vista Elementary School District
Perkins Elementary San Diego Unified School District
Pomerado Elementary Poway Unified School District
Potrero Elementary Mountain Empire Unified School District
Riley Elementary San Diego Unified School District
San Altos Elementary Lemon Grove School District
San Marcos Elementary San Marcos Unified School District
San Miguel Elementary Lemon Grove School District
Sherman Elementary San Diego Unified School District
Smythe Elementary San Ysidro Elementary School District
Sunset Elementary San Ysidro Elementary School District
Valley Elementary Poway Unified School District
Vista Academy of Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Vista Unified School District
Vista La Mesa Elementary Lemon Grove School District
Vista Square Elementary Chula Vista Elementary School District
Willow Elementary San Ysidro Elementary School District


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

  • $250 = 1 school year (36 weekends)
  • $28 = 1 month (4 weekends)
  • $7 = 1 weekend

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

Contact Chris Carter at ccarter@sandiegofoodbank.org or call 858-863-5131 for information on ways you can support the Food 4 Kids Backpack Program.