The Backpack Program provides nutritional meals and snacks for students whose primary source of food is the school cafeteria. By providing a backpack with food items to help sustain a child during the weekend before they return on Monday, their nutritional, mental and over all well being needs are being met.
Working with counselors, teachers and nurses at each of the campuses, students are identified. Identities are kept confidential so that participants are not embarrassed or singled out by other students. Backpacks used in the program resemble the every day backpack found at most schools. Backpacks and food are purchased by HOPE from the East Texas Food Bank and sent home with the student each Friday at the end of the school day. Each backpack contains food for breakfast and lunch on Saturday and Sunday. Each student is responsible for returning the backpack on Monday when they return to school.
In addition to serving the Jacksonville Independent School District we also serve the New Summerfield Texas Independent School District. The district lies about 10 miles east of Jacksonville on US 79 and has a large Hispanic enrollment.
Cost of the Backpack program is about $162 for the school year per child served. Due to a lack of sufficient funds, the number of students being served does not meet of the student population who could benefit from the program, School counselors have a waiting list of students who qualify for the program.