Heather Helgeson, Grand Forks, letter: ‘Backpack food program’ also exists in GFIn 2010, the UND Nonprofit Leadership Student Association worked in partnership with the Great Plains Food Bank and the Northlands Rescue Mission to bring the program to Grand Forks.
By: Heather Helgeson,
GRAND FORKS — I am writing to note that a backpack food program much like the Oklahoma program described in a Herald story also exists in Grand Forks (“Backpack program takes hold,” Page B3, Nov. 28).
In 2010, the UND Nonprofit Leadership Student Association worked in partnership with the Great Plains Food Bank and the Northlands Rescue Mission to bring the program to Grand Forks.
In Grand Forks alone, 35 percent of school-aged children qualify for free and reduced school lunches.
Children suffering from hunger can face health problems in behavioral and emotional development, problems that can impair their ability to learn.
The program aims to provide nourishment not only physically but also emotionally as well so that students don’t have to worry about where their next meal is coming from.
As the needs and the program grow, the students again are soliciting food items that are nonperishable and easy for children to prepare at home. During the
2010-11 school year, 32 students received food items to take home on weekends and holidays. This year, more 140 students in four schools will benefit.
With the generous support of Hugo’s groceries, a food drive was conducted from Nov. 6-19. It brought in many needed food items to supplement the program.
Herald readers still can donate. Food items are collected and dropped off at the Northlands Rescue Mission, the nonprofit administering the Kids Plus Program in our community, .
The food items are placed in nondescript bags for students to take home on weekends and holidays. Students who qualify are chosen based on their eligibility and participation in free and reduced lunch program through the public schools.
If you would like more information about the program and how you can help, please contact Amy Tweet at Northlands Rescue Mission.
Helgeson is program coordinator for the UND Nonprofit Leadership Program. the Grand Forks Region EDC.