December 21, 2017 at 8pm ET on ESPN

A Unique Program to Fight Weekend Hunger for Children of the Tampa Bay Community

Children make up only 25% of our population, but nearly 40% of the people who turn to food banks for support do so for their kids. Far too often the most vulnerable of our families, our communities are faced with a day that does not have a full meal in it. This is especially true on the weekends and summer months. Oftentimes children are fed through school programs or in summer day camps, but lack food for the weekend. In order to meet the ongoing needs of the children of our communities, Feeding America Tampa Bay and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay offer a Back Pack program that is designed to provide a nutritious meal that answers the need of weekend hunger. The backpack program helps alleviate child hunger in by providing hungry children with nutritious and easy-to-prepare food in backpacks that are filled with food that is child-friendly, nonperishable, and easily consumed.

The Solution – Weekend Backpacks

The Back Pack program provides backpacks filled with healthy, kid-friendly, nonperishable, and easy-to-prepare food to hungry children who are homeless or low-income. These children are sent home with a 6 lb. backpack of food every Friday. The types of food included are cereals, juices, applesauce, fruit cups, milk, granola, chili, and ravioli. Each bag weighs 6 lbs. which is easily within 15% of body weight for children and all food is kid-friendly and can be consumed without any adult help or supervision.

How the Program Works

Fill the Bowl

The St Petersburg Bowl will pit two great collegiate teams against each other on the field. But, before that contest takes place, they’ll compete against each other to see who can pack the most weekend meals for children! Working with each team will be participants in the Boys and Girls Clubs so bragging rights are up for grabs. The teams will look to pack over 4,000 weekend backpacks in just a few hours, providing weekend food for children who would otherwise go without. Feeding America Tampa Bay will bring in the food on pallets, unsorted, and the teams will assemble the backpacks, filling each sack with enough food to feed a child over the weekend. Once completed, the food will be delivered to Boys and Girls Club locations in the Tampa Bay area where the meals will be given out to those most in need.