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Second Harvest needs sponsors for Food for Kids Backpack Program

Staff Report • Dec 23, 2018 at 6:30 PM

KINGSPORT — Six out of 10 children in Northeast Tennessee qualify for free or reduced meals at school, ensuring they receive the nutrition they need to learn and grow.

But what happens when children who rely on school meals are out of school for extended periods of time, like winter break? They often experience hunger when parents can’t afford to purchase the extra food needed for their children during times when school is not in session.

To help solve child hunger, Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee operates the Food for Kids Backpack Program, providing food assistance for more than 4,500 children in 137 schools throughout the region.

The Food for Kids program furnishes healthy snacks and easy-to-prepare meal options for children to take home from school to ensure they have something to eat after school, on weekends and during school breaks.

About the program

This is a collaborative effort between Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee and the public school systems in the eight-county region of Northeast Tennessee to identify chronically hungry children.

There is no charge for the child or the school to participate in the program. Second Harvest looks for sponsors to fund the program and relies on volunteers to help pack the food. Wholesale food purchases and costs involved in distribution make up the majority of the cost of the programs.

How to help

The cost to cover each child is less than $100 per year. Funding is still needed for approximately 1,600 children for the remainder of the 2018-2019 school year because the food bank is currently funding the program through its general operating budget.

The food bank is encouraging donors to sponsor children for the program and help ensure children don’t go hungry. Sponsorships can be made online at www.netfoodbank, by mail at P.O. Box 3327, Johnson City, TN 37602, by phone at (423) 279-0430 or at the office at 1020 Jericho Drive, Kingsport, TN 37663.

For more information, visit www.netfoodbank.org or call (423) 279-0430.

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