The Food 4 Kids Backpack Program will start our tenth full year of service this summer. Every year we have seen our numbers and the need for this program grow in Lincoln County. During these 10 years we have seen the program evolve and new partnerships have formed to help these children. We now can offer free books to each child in the program every month thanks to our partnership with Sierra Blanca Book Share Program and BCSCR. We also partner with Children’s Dental Clinic to provide a new toothbrush to every child receiving a backpack when distribution starts in August.
Food 4 Kids uses a database program by Food Bank Manager to track children, donations, volunteer hours and demographic data on families. This new addition to the program helps us get to know our children and families and better help them find resources. The data collected is used to report to donors, apply for grants and put together information for publications. Visit our Hunger Facts page to view all of the latest data.
The children of Lincoln County represent our future. They are our future leaders, citizens, workers and parents. It is with this thought in mind that the Food 4 Kids program works to help ensure our youngest citizens have nutritional support during these tough economic times. We know that children that are hungry do more poorly in school and have socio-emotional and behavioral issues. According to the National Cancer Institute and University of Calgary, research shows that hunger and food insecurity are really damaging in terms of children’s life chances and even one experience of hunger can have lasting effects. Children who live in households where food insecurity is a way of life suffer from both physical and psychological effects. The stress of not having a consistent and high quality food source is proving to have lifelong effects well into adulthood. Studies are showing that children age birth to three years old who live in households that are food insecure are beginning life at a disadvantage to their food secure peers. Food insecurity has a snowball effect that leads to these children falling further and further behind academically, socially, physically and emotionally. Many of these children end up in special education programs, suffering from chronic illness or disease, in counseling for behavioral issues and as high school drop outs.
There are two levels that the USDA uses to categorize food insecurity-Low food security and very low food security. Low food security is defined as reports of reduced quality, variety or desirability of diet with little or no indication of reduced food intake.