The Micah’s Backpack program in Washington County follows a model established in Blacksburg, VA. The program is designed to feed hungry students through a partnership between each elementary school and one or more churches/organizations in its community. Brought to Washington County by Trinity Lutheran Church in 2010, the program now serves more than 826 students in 27 elementary schools and involves partnerships with more than 45 churches and organizations. Over 10,000 students in Washington County Public Schools receive free or reduced lunches and for many this lunch will be the last hot meal of the day. Children are especially hungry over the weekend when school is not in session.
How Micah’s Backpack Works
Each Friday afternoon identified elementary school children receive a bag or backpack of healthy food and snacks. On Monday each child returns the empty bag or backpack to the school to be restocked with food for the following Friday. The filled backpack may include the following individual serving-size items: cereal, oatmeal, juice, tuna, peanut butter, crackers, macaroni and cheese, soup, applesauce, fruit cups, spaghetti, ravioli, beef stew, canned vegetables, and other nutritious food.
Who Can Participate?
Eligible students are identified by the school principal and a designated school staff member such as the counselor, social worker, or community liaison. Confidentiality of program participants is maintained by the school. A permission form is provided for the parent/guardian of each eligible student by the principal or designated school staff member. The form must be signed by a parent or guardian and returned to the school before a child may participate.