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San Diego Food Bank Announces Backpack Program Success

KPBS Reporter Dwane Brown takes a look at how the San Diego Food Bank is fighting hunger in elementary schools.

Recent donations to the "Food 4 Kids Backpack Program'' mean that 75 more children from three elementary schools can be given food to keep them from going hungry over weekends, the San Diego Food Bank announced today.

Individuals and companies gave the funds to serve youngsters who during the week receive free lunches at Baker, Chollas-Mead and Webster elementary schools.

More than 1,100 students from 29 elementary schools currently are enrolled.

Teachers and school nurses say that students who eat their meals at school during the week frequently return to class Monday on an empty stomach, affecting their ability to learn and behave.

The Food Bank's Chris Carter said the students who receive weekend food backpacks, which cost $200 per child per academic year, are identified by teachers or nurses as chronically hungry.

The backpacks include cereal, oatmeal, peanut butter and jelly, macaroni and cheese, soups, pop-top beans and franks, ravioli, canned chicken, tuna pouches, granola bars, fruit cups, applesauce, raisin boxes, milk and juices, according to Carter.

He said the foods are child-friendly, requiring no preparation.

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