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Backpacks provide meals to hungry New Orlean burberry bags sale s kids over weekends

Starting Friday, more than 1,300 kids across the metropolitan New Orleans area who might otherwise go hungry over weekends are receiving backpacks full of nutritious food to supplement their diet from the Second Harvest Food Bank. Lafayette Academy Charter School is one of 19 sites the food bank serves across 23 parishes in Louisiana. The staff will be handing out backpacks each Friday to 100 of their students.

View full sizeELLIS LUCIA / THE TIMES PICAYUNELafayette Academy Charter School in New Orleans is one of 19 sites the backpack program serves across 23 parishes in Louisian burberry bags sale a.

Many New Orleans students qualify for free and reduced cost breakfast and lunch, but they go home to empty pantries on the weekend or no pantry at all.

kids know what it is like not to have food, said Stephany Jones, social worker and backpack program organizer at Lafayette Academy. have a homeless population at the school, parents who struggle to find dinner at night we even had one family living in a car. Jayroe, president and CEO of Second Harvest Greater New Orleans and Acadiana, says the backpack program became a top priority after Hurricane Katrina. In 2006, the same year the backpacks became a national program, Second Harvest began distributing backpacks throughout the metropolitan New Orleans area.

are filled with kid friendly, nutritious food such as granola bars, juice boxes generally, things in packaging that don need cooking or preparation, Jayroe said.

Each backpack contains two juice boxes, two shelf stable milk cartons, two small boxes of cereal, a fruit cup, apple sauce, beef stew, macaroni and cheese and lasagna.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, Louisiana has a food insecurity rate of 14.6 percent and Orleans Parish, 19.1 percent.

USDA defines food insecurity as of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members and limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods. some point during the year many families have to decide if they are going to pay the utilities, day care, burberry bags sale car or food. Most often, food is what they have to go without, Jayroe said.

Teachers and social workers at schools see the effect that has on their students.

are falling asleep at the desk, have social problems there are even kids who go to school to eat breakfast, and they sneak an extra biscuit to eat later, Jayroe said. kids give their backpacks to their mothers so that their mothers have something to eat.

Patrick Thomas, security guard at Lafayette Academy, sees most of the school students every day. He alerts the staff to children in need of weekend food backpacks.

help identify new kids based upon our homeless list and by talking to and observing most kids in the school, Thomas said. run up and ask if they can get a bag. They depend on these bags.

Around long holidays, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas break, Second Harvest provides backpacks to these students to help tide them over while they out of school.

Currently, Second Harvest has over 50 schools on their waiting list for the backpack program. If schools that are already part of the program require more than the packs they receive, they find other ways to ensure their students are getting enough food.

have other resources within the community that we use as well, such as churches, Jones said. are adding eighth grade next year so the need will be greater.

Food for Second Harvest backpacks is not donated. Second Harvest spends $233 per child for the 40 weeks of the backpack program, purchasing carefully to ensure that each backpack is consistently filled with nutritious, nonperishable food that the students will enjoy.

adopt particular schools or schools within parishes, and some foundations make a gift that can pay for half of the backpacks, Jayroe said.

Schools are placed in a tough position in having to decide which students get the backpacks burberry bags sale . They don look different from any other bookbag, but word gets around.