Backpack Snack program feeds at-risk students

SBHS program allows for 100 recipients

SBHS Food Services Director Jim Lewis also helps determine what will be put in the bags.

Children are hungry seven days a week.

Recognizing this, San Benito High School’s food services and counseling departments and the Community FoodBank of San Benito have partnered to start a program for students in need called the “Backpack Snack Program.”

The Hollister School District, serving pre-kindergarteners through eighth-graders, has a similar program.

Every Friday since the beginning of February, 18 to 33 students have been provided enough shelf-stable food for two breakfasts and two lunches to supplement their diet throughout the weekend.

School officials initially identified approximately 50 homeless students and others who would benefit from the program, which SBHS Vice Principal Claire Grissom learned about from Mark Paxton of the food bank at a Foster Youth and Homeless meeting offered by the San Benito County Office of Education. Any students who would benefit from the food, not just those who are homeless, can sign up with their counselor to receive it each week.

Students can choose to pick up the food in the counseling office or cafeteria at the end of school each Friday, or it can be delivered to them at the end of the day in their classroom in a nondescript package.

The effort is paid for by Title 1 funding, which provides financial assistance to schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families.

“We welcome suggestions from parents and the public if they know of a student who is in need and attends San Benito High School,” said Grissom, who can be reached by email at [email protected]

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