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 The Backpack Program






Poverty levels are on the rise due to the current economy, and too many Idaho children are hungry over the weekends. Throughout Idaho, teachers share many stories of children returning to school on Monday after a weekend without enough to eat. Studies focusing on children deprived of food indicate that they are more likely to become sick, have a decreased attention span, and lack the enthusiasm to learn because they are concentrating on their hunger more than learning.



The Backpack program began when an inner-city school nurse asked for help: the same students came to her with stomach aches and dizziness each Monday morning. She realized that they had not eaten since their free school lunch the Friday before. In response, school officials started sending home food on Fridays but made the mistake of putting the groceries in paper bags. The children were singled out and made to feel uncomfortable as well as hungry. Placing food discretely in backpacks helped them to look no different than other students while ensuring they received the nutrition they needed.



The Bonner Community Food Bank works in partnership with school officials to identify chronically hungry children that could benefit from the BackPack Program. The Food Bank also houses the BackPack program, orders the food,  coordinates the volunteers who help with the program, identifies funding sources and advertises the program.



The weekend backpack weighs about six pounds and includes child-friendly, nutritious, non-perishable foods. These items will generally be comprised of two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners and two snacks that are easy to prepare. The children return to school on Monday nourished and ready to learn.



The need for backpacks of food for children in our community is great. With funding and support, we could distribute over 1,000 backpacks every week to elementary school children in the Lake Pend Oreille School District. Currently 1,049 elementary school children receive free or reduced price meals at school  –  this is 56% of all students enrolled in our district.


Cost for one weekend backpack:                          $5.00

Sponsor one child for one month:                       $20.00

Sponsor one child for one year:                        $200.00

Sponsor two children for one year:                  $400.00


To be a sponsor for the Sandpoint BackPack Program, to volunteer, or for more information, please contact Alice Wallace at 208-263-3663


Mail Checks Payable To:

BCFC BackPack Program

1707 Culvers Drive

Sandpoint, ID 83864


Or click here to DONATE ONLINE WITH YOUR CREDIT CARD. On the confirmation screen, click on “special instructions for seller” and in the notation box type “for BackPack Program”. Proceed to confirm donation. 

Our Mission

The mission of the Bonner Community Food Bank is to assist persons in our community with emergency non-medical resources in a time of personal crisis.

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Learn about our Endowment


Serving Bonner County Since 1981