WCFB is a member of
the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity
Our Mission is to
residents who are
hungry or at risk
of hunger to
access to food
The History of the
The idea of sending backpacks home started at the
Arkansas Rice Depot when a school nurse in the area
noticed an above average number of students coming
to her with complaints of upset stomachs and
dizziness. It was determined that the students were
not really sick, but hungry.
The local food bank started giving out bags at the
school and with a need to continue, the backpack
program began. Today more than 110 Food Banks
participate and as many as 35,000 backpacks are
distributed weekly in the United States.
The Backpack Program’s
To meet the needs of hungry children by providing
them with nutritious and easy-to-prepare food to
take home on weekends and school vacations
when other resources are not available.
The Program Objectives
• Provide nutritious, healthy food to children at-risk of
hunger for preparation and consumption at their place of
• Distribute food discreetly in easily accessible and safe
• To involve additional resources and partners in order to
assure sustainability of the program
How children qualify for this program
Children who receive free or reduced price lunches through the
schools are eligible to participate in this program.
We also work with teachers and school personnel to identify
chronically hungry children. These are children who are not
receiving sufficient food on a regular basis.
A chronically hungry student may not necessarily tell you that
he or she doesn’t have enough food at home.
The following indicators are used in determnining chronic hunger:
Anxious for meals to be served
May rush to the cafeteria line or show up early for breakfast
Will eat anything placed before them
Extreme hunger every Monday morning
Lingers around food and asks for seconds
May try to “stash” or “pocket” food on Fridays to store up for the weekend
Excessive absences (unexcused or due to sickness)
Difficulty in forming friendships
Hyperactive, aggressive, and irritable, or withdrawn, distressed, and passive
Excessive sickness—sore throat, common cold, stomach ache, ear infection, fatigue
Short attention span, inability to concentrate
A typical backpack includes some variation of a
protein (pasta in sauce, or stew), canned fruits
(applesauce or mixed fruit), and other nutritional
foods such as cereal bars, individual boxes of
cereal, fruit juice, macaroni and cheese, crackers
How the Backpack Program works
Once a month volunteers come to the Food Bank to pack
bags with the child friendly, nutritious food. Most of the
food is purchased through Westmoreland County Food
Bank due to the Backpack Program’s lack of a national or
local funding stream. Grants & donations play a major
factor in the sustainablilty of this program.
Once the bags are filled, they are packed in boxes and
ready for monthly deliveries to the after school programs.
Each child receives a bag in their backpack
each week as they head home following their
education program on Friday.
month at the
Outcome surveys are utilized to assess the quality of
the program to be sure the objectives are being met.
Teachers and schools have informally reported
improvement in test scores and positive behavior gains.
Three Sites Currently In Operation
New Kensington- Salvation Army After School Program
Vandergrift- Salvation Army After School Program
Jeannette- JAYS After School Program
Sponsorships are needed in order to be able to expand
and offer this valuable program to other needy children
throughout the county.
The children in Westmoreland County need your help!!
How can you help?
Due to a vast need that continues to increase, sponsors are
desired that can dedicate at least two years of funding
support for this program.
We strive to continue with expansion efforts as we maintain
funding support for the current sites.
How unfortunate would it be for a child to come to pick up
their backpack that is not able to be filled?
These children are the future!
The average cost per child:
One child per week----- $ 4.00
One child per month--- $ 16.00
One child per year------ $192.00
Expansion is based on 25 children per site.
Food, supplies & administrative costs
are taken into consideration.
Expansion Sponsorship for 2 years= $30,000
Listed below are the most needed items packed in the backpacks
each week. Please note that these are single serve items that can
be prepared with minimal adult supervision.
Pop-Top items work best!
100% Fruit Juice Single Serve Meals Healthy Snacks
Fruit Cups/Applesauce Spaghetti & Meatballs Crackers
Pudding Cups Ravioli, Beefaroni Granola Bars
Ind. Cereal Boxes Beef Stew Pretzels
Cereal Bars Soups/Ramen Noodles Trail Mix
Pop Tarts Mac n Cheese Raisins
Download our Food Drive Packet
It contains everything you need to conduct a
successful Food Drive! For more information
on conducting a food drive to benefit WCFB,
Louise Wilhelm at (724) 468-8660 ext. 13 or
from donations to
For more information Contact:
Michelle Heller/Program Coordinator
100 Devonshire Drive
Delmont, PA 15626-1607
724.468.8660 ext 25