Backpack for Kids program need donations to feed area youth

CLARKSTON, WA - Food banks in the Valley and surrounding region are working hard to make sure kids aren't going hungry this year.

Backpacks are being filled with all sorts of meals for youngsters in our area that could be going home hungry during the school year.

It's called the Backpack for Kids program. It runs through the entire school year and it's offered to kids in kindergarten through sixth grade. They'll be given a backpack filled with goodies that should last them through the weekend.

More than half of kids in Asotin County receive free and reduced lunches. 200 of those kids are homeless.

The Asotin County Food Bank has been serving kids in Clarkston, Anatone and Asotin for four years. Joanne Huntley is the president. She said they have enough food right now to serve the amount of kids they had last year, but it's not enough to serve all the kids who need it. She said if more money was available they'd be able to help more kids.

"All donations are appreciated and the amount doesn't matter," said Huntley. "If you want to pay for one child for the school year that costs $150, but anything anything under that amount is more than welcome."

If you can't make a cash donation the food bank is always looking for nonperishable food items, like canned soup, crackers and anything else that can be stored on a shelf.

The Idaho Food Bank is also helping kids in Nez Perce County and the surrounding area.

"We distribute roughly 7,000 backpacks each school year, and we'll be doing that again this school year," said Branch Manager Cari Miller.

Miller said one in five children in Idaho are considered food insecure, which means they don't know where their next meal is coming from, or if they even get one.

"Either their parents are working or children are being neglected," said Miller. "They need to be able to prepare meals for themselves so they don't go to school hungry Monday morning and it'll help them learn."

This program doesn't start until the first week of the school year.

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