The Backpack Program
True stories about children on the Backpack Program
What it is
The Clearinghouse is best known in the area as the provider of the Meals for Kids Backpack Program. Each week we prepare and distribute over 2,400 backpacks of food to children in the area so they have food for the weekend.
There is no application process for the program. Professional nutritionists volunteered their time and skills to select the foods we deliver each week.
The backpacks include juice, cereal, pudding and fruit cups. We always include some source of protein like meat sticks or Vienna sausages, as well as crackers and treats.
Why it exists
Across this great land there are thousands upon thousands of children who leave school every Friday and who do not eat again until they have breakfast Monday morning in the school cafeteria.
These youngsters miss seven consecutive meals. This “weekends-without-food” phenomenon produces a state of continuing malnutrition that results in academic and social deficiencies and failures.
Citizens throughout the western Arkansas and eastern-Oklahoma area have taken a stand to end such childhood hunger by adopting a simple and straight forward slogan that “no child should ever go hungry.” From this slogan has arisen the Meals For Kids Backpack Program.
Who makes it happen
This program alone costs about $400,000 a year to operate.
We are blessed with many faithful donors and a working board, but we are in constant need of reaching new donors to meet the increasing demand. We serve some 6,000 families representing some 20,000 individuals, many of whom are children under the age of 16.
Donations being brought into our food pantry
Local Sheriff’s Office preparing backpacks
Local youth getting involved by preparing backpacks