Helping Neighbors: Year-round Weekend Food for Kids
The FISH OF SANCAP Backpack Program is designed to battle childhood hunger and food insecurity by providing weekend food and extra snacks for children. Similar backpack programs elsewhere are offered only during the school year, but FISH offers theirs throughout the entire year, including over summer break. “Good nutrition is an important part of child’s physical and mental health; it helps promote academic achievement,” says Kathy Y. Monroe, Program Director at FISH, “This program provides children with supplemental food so they can continue to have healthy food choices when school provided meals are not available on weekends, holidays or during summer months.”
Offered to eligible households that live or work on Sanibel or Captiva, the FISH Backpack Program supports children in Grades Pre-K through 12th. Each week, participating students are given non-perishable, nutritious foods that are kid-friendly, easy to prepare and great tasting. The program, in partnership with Blessings in a Backpack and partially sponsored by The Sanibel-Captiva Kiwanis Foundation and private donors, is offered at no cost to participants.
“We evaluate our Backpack Program food choices and make changes and adjustments as necessary. All backpacks contain protein, fruits and vegetables, snacks and non-sugary drinks. The backpacks are occasionally enhanced with a sweet treat,” states Monroe, “We try to include organic and vegetarian choices as well.”
Food backpacks are assembled by FISH volunteers and available for pick-up at the FISH Walk-In Center at any time during the week. Households may opt in and out of the program as their need dictates. For additional information, please contact Walk-In Center Manager Maria Espinoza or Social Services Assistant Anthony Morales at FISH, 239-472-4775.