GREAT FALLS — The Great Falls Community Food Bank annual BACKPACKS4KIDS donation drive got underway on Wednesday, February 23, 2022.
The program provides food for weekends and holidays for hundreds of elementary school students so they have something to eat when they can’t get meals from school. From the food bank website:
The Backpacks4Kids Program was started in 2010 as a part of the Food Bank’s Food4Kids initiative. It was offered in the four GFPS elementary schools with the highest percentage of children eligible for free/reduced meal programs. It has since expanded to cover all 15 of the GFPS elementaries, as well as the primary school in Vaughn.
Each week, children are identified by school staff and faculty as being in need of Backpack assistance. These children receive a pack containing two days of healthy, easy-to-prepare food to help them through the weekend and school breaks when school meal programs are not available.
"This is just the time of year we go out and ask the public to help us. The community support we've received from this program over the past five or six years has been tremendous and we hope that continues,” said Shaun Tatarka, the director of the Great Falls Community Food Bank. "We have seen the need grow a little bit. The child tax credit expired last month, so we think that's going to have a big impact on this as well.”
The program is available to donate to year-round.
If you would like to donate, call 406-452-9029, or mail donations to 1620 12th Avenue North in Great Falls and make sure the donation says BACKPACKS4KIDS. You can also go online to donate.