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Kids explain why they like Harvesters’ BackSnack program

Children in the Center School District recently made colorful notes and pictures expressing their feelings about the BackSnack packs of food they receive on Fridays to take home for the weekend.
Children in the Center School District recently made colorful notes and pictures expressing their feelings about the BackSnack packs of food they receive on Fridays to take home for the weekend. The Kansas City Star

The Star is partnering with Harvesters again on a virtual food drive to feed Kansas City kids. To donate, go to feedingkckids.harvestersvfd.org.

Sometimes even a jug of milk is too much for families to afford.

So when elementary school students get a carton of shelf-stable milk, which doesn’t have to be refrigerated, that helps. Ravioli and cereal do, too.

Harvesters’ BackSnack program provides packs of food and milk each Friday to tide schoolchildren over until Monday. The food bank asked some of them to write a few words about BackSnacks.

Hunter, 12, started with the milk.

“It gets so expensive,” he said. BackSnack “also provides my family with cooking ingredients and snacks. It’s a helpful resource.”

The BackSnack program has grown so much in the past decade — from 65 students in 2004 to roughly 19,500 this year — that it’s the largest in the Feeding America network of 200 banks.

When the program started, children would take the food home in a separate backpack. Now most schools put the food in plastic grocery sacks that go into the kids’ own backpacks. No one has to worry about explaining an extra backpack on Fridays.

Twelve-year-old Jasmine says the food is a big help for her and her family.

“Some of the food at the grocery store is really expensive, so that helps us with some money issues,” Jasmine said. “It also helps us because lots of the kids in the family usually eat a lot of food, so that gives us more food to eat.”

Madison, 11, likes the packs for the healthy food. Cody thinks the canned food is good, the fruit even better.

And for 12-year-old Jillian, it’s pretty simple: “I love what’s in them. ... I believe that people should get these every Friday.”

To contact Laura Bauer, call 816-234-4944 or send email to lbauer@kcstar.com.

Feeding KC kids

This holiday season, The Star is again partnering with Harvesters on a virtual food drive to raise money for the area’s hungriest children.

All money goes to Harvesters’ BackSnack program, which provides low-income children with packs of food each Friday to tide them over until they return to school Monday. A $25 donation provides a child BackSnacks for a month; $250 provides BackSnacks for a year.

If you’d like to give, go to feedingkckids.harvestersvfd.org. Or you can send a check to Harvesters, 3801 Topping Ave., Kansas City, MO 64129. You can donate in a loved one’s name, with reader dedications published in The Star’s Christmas edition. The deadline for dedications is 5 p.m. Dec. 21.

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