Moosomin Food Share: Backpacks for Children provides healthy food to kids in need
September 5, 2023, 4:16 pm
Sierra D'Souza Butts, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Moosomin Food Share’s Backpacks for Children program provides packages of snacks, and lunches, to kids between the ages of four and 17 in Moosomin, and the surrounding area.
The program is intended to help children in the community who are in need of healthy foods for the week.
“The program is going good so far. We’re up to six kids, we’re expecting that number to go up once school starts,” said Manager of the Moosomin Food Share Samantha Campbell.
“We’ve been providing the snacks throughout the summer too. We have backpacks, but we’ve been putting them in bags because we don’t want the kids, come school time, to have two backpacks and stand out.”
Campbell said the program provides nutritious and healthy foods to kids who may not have access to healthy eating.
“We provide food that needs little to no preparation, and that will discretely fit into a backpack,” she said.
“Kids can have access to food for both the days of the week and for the weekend.
“They are for people who are struggling with access to nutritious foods on weekends. It’s for all food insecurity and for everyone who needs help.”
Moosomin Food Share started the program back in April. Throughout the last couple of months, Campbell said she has noticed the impact the program has had on kids.
“I think it’s going really well,” said Campbell.
“We did have a really good response from businesses and individuals in the area. I believe we have 20 kids sponsored right now.”
Program is available to families in the community
Families are encouraged to pick up backpacks for their children if needed, said Campbell.
“Pick-up is every Friday, they could pick up from the Food Share,” she said.
“If they want to apply, we do have our website which is www.moosominfoodshare.com. People can fill out a form directly on there, they can email us, they can stop by the office and get a form, whatever is easiest for them.
“We did send it out to the schools. If teachers notice someone is struggling with food they can apply on their behalf and we co-ordinate with the schools to do a drop off at the school, and have them deliver it for us to bring to the kids.”
She spoke about what types of foods are included in the backpacks.
“We provide one litre of milk for each child or adolescent, and we also provide it to pregnant or nursing women as well.
“We do a breakfast for one day, a breakfast could consist of a muffin with blueberries or apples or raisin toast with a banana.
“They also get a morning snack, which usually consists of yogurt or berries, or banana bread with fruit. Lunch we give ready-to-make soup, it’s easy to heat up with mixed vegetables, or we’ve done chicken nuggets with pasta.
“We usually give juice boxes as a little treat. Then the second snack is usually a cheese string with crackers or cucumbers, or naan bread with carrots and celery.
“Those are two different menus and we just alter them every week.”
Looking for sponsors, and food donations
Campbell said the Backpacks for Children program will support children who are struggling with access to nutritious food, and help deal with issues of food insecurity to help ensure that hunger is not a barrier to learning.
Local businesses and people in town can donate food items or make monetary donations towards the program.
“A lot of the food for the backpacks program we buy every week, like the yogurt, the fresh fruits, the milk, the bread,” said Campbell.
“That stuff we buy every week, which as the prices go up in groceries it does get more expensive, but we are also noticing a lot less food on the shelves too in the food bank.”
People can get in touch with Campbell at email@example.com, or visit the food bank at 609 Gordon Street, or visit their website at www.moosominfoodshare.com