Backpack Buddies Consortium providing food to students in need |

Backpack Buddies Consortium providing food to students in need

Staff Reports

The Douglas County Backpack Buddies Consortium is an organization which provides backpacks with nonperishable food items each Friday for students who have need of supplemental nutrition over the weekend.

These backpacks consistently meet the minimum USDA requirements of calories for seven meals over the weekend. The committee which oversees the program consists of eight dedicated volunteers including a board member of the Minden Rotary Club Foundation (parent organization). The committee works closely with representatives from the Douglas County School District ensuring the smooth operation of the program. The number of volunteers increases to over 30 during monthly packing of the weekend food bags. Volunteers include private individuals as well as representatives from local banks and businesses and high school students in need of service hours. Volunteer hours exceeded 3,000 during the last school year.

The organization was established in October of 2009 providing small amounts of food to 50 homeless and in-need children at three schools. In the summer of 2010 the organization established a service partnership with the Food Bank of Northern Nevada providing the ability to purchase food at low prices. This fact along with successful fundraising activities has been the impetus for staggering growth.

Backpack Buddies now serves 10 schools and almost 300 students (a 500 percent growth rate). Total food distribution in school year 2011-12 exceeded 70,000 pounds. Also distributed were 650 hygiene packs to 11 schools.

The success of this program has been demonstrated by the survey results received from school administrators, backpack program coordinators, counselors, nurses, teachers and support staff. These results indicate:

n 97 percent say that the program has a positive impact in the schools

n 84 percent say that the program has a positive impact on academic performance and reduces health issues

n 74 percent say that the program has a positive impact on Monday morning attendance issues

The community has been generous with food and financial donations which allow Backpack Buddies to be sustainable and stable. Collaboration with other social service and food service agencies help to keep services consistent and reliable.

All local financial donations are used for the purchase of food.

Administrative costs are covered partially by a state grant and one donor who has specified that their funds may be earmarked for these costs. Food drive and fund raising activities are ongoing.

The Douglas County Backpack Buddy Consortium expressed gratitude to those whose generosity supported the program in its efforts to help children in need.

For additional information concerning the organization, contact the Lin Larson (Program Director) at 267-6737 or