The Backpack Program is a national program created through Feeding America. There are Backpack Programs all across the country, but one did not exist in Coeur d'Alene until November 2010.
Lakes Middle School agreed to be the program's pilot school, so in the fall of 2010, 16 very excited students were part of our very first distribution. That number quickly increased. By the end of the 2010-2011 school year, we were serving 30 students in two different schools. With the help of counselors and volunteers, the program was receiving a positive welcome into the community.
The facts are surprising: close to 50% of CDA School District families fall below the poverty line, resulting in almost 4,000 students who qualify for free or reduced breakfast and lunch through the National School Lunch Program.
Our goal has been to expand the program to feed as many children as possible. With the overwhelming support from our community, we have been able to do just that. For the 2011-2012 school year we were serving 4 schools and over 100 students. As we entered into 2012, we were happily serving 160 kids. Our program has continued to grow- we are entering the 2019-2020 year serving over 450 students each week.