The Food Backpacks 4 Kids program began on the Key Peninsula in 2009. Since then, we have given away over 1.5 million pounds of nutritious food to children and their families!
In our first week of operation, nine backpacks were packed for distribution at Evergreen Elementary School and ten years later the program grew to serve 500 children a week. Our original core group of volunteers were from the Key Peninsula, Agnus Dei Lutheran Church and Peninsula Lutheran Church. Together they prepared backpacks for 14 schools in our school district. Year after year, week after week, these fabulous volunteers worked for the children in our community.
In March of 2020, the week the pandemic closed schools, we immediately responded to the challenges. We created a drive-thru distribution program in three locations on the Key Peninsula and in Gig Harbor. Instead of 10 pound backpacks, families received grocery bags and boxes filled with fresh, frozen, and nonperishable foods. We couldn't have imagined that we would need to run the drive-thru program for 18 months before we changed everything, all over again.
We opened the doors to our Family Pantry in September of 2021, where over 200 families shop for groceries or receive home delivery. We continue to send backpacks throughout the Peninsula School District for younger children to take home. Middle and high school students can access meal options and snacks in Care Cupboards.
We have grown tremendously and stay true to our mission and commitment to the children in our community. We are incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support we receive. The donations, food drives, and thousands of volunteer labor hours have made Food Backpacks 4 Kids an organization built by our community to serve our community.