Working together to build and sustain
hunger-free communities
throughout the Southern Tier.

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Filling the Gap So Children Won't Go Hungry Over Weekends

We believe that no child should ever go hungry. Yet, many children who receive free and reduced priced school meals are left without the nutrition they need on weekends and holiday breaks when school is not in session. By providing children who are at risk of hunger with a bag of nutritious food each Friday throughout the school year, the BackPack Programô attempts to reduce this gap and help children return to school on Monday ready to learn. 

Started as a pilot program with 3 sites in October 2005, beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, the Food Bank of the Southern Tier has reached its goal of expanding the BackPack Programô to all 41 school districts in our six county service area, reaching 2,530 children each week at over 200 sites!
The BackPack Programô requires very specific, kid-friendly foods!

  • Kid-friendly
  • Nutritious
  • Individually packaged
  • Small and light enough to carry
  • Shelf stable
  • Easy to prepare - even without a stove (or in some cases a can opener)
  • Not going to break (no glass jars)
  • Each pack contains at least 8 items: 2 Proteins, 2 Grains, 2 Dairy & 2 Fruits or Vegetables

You can Help. It's as easy as 1-2-3!

1. Volunteer to help repack donated items into the packs for distribution.
2. Donate money to help sustain the BackPack Programô, or help expand the program to more children.
3. Host a food drive with your group to collect items from our Wish List. Click here to download a copy of the Wish List.

During the 2014-2015 school year, the BackPack Programô served 41 school districts in Broome, Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga, and Tompkins counties. 2,849 children received packs each week. A total of 85,056 packs were distributed. 

For more information contact:
Jennifer Edger
, Director of Community Programs
at 607.796.6061 x4037 or email

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388 Upper Oakwood Ave. | Elmira, NY 14903 | 607-796-6061 A regional agency of Catholic Charities and a member of Feeding America