BBP School Year
Click on a question below to learn more about BBP and how it helps families during the school year. If you'd like to know about how BBP helps families during the summer, please click here.
- Why is a backpack food program a good idea?
- How much does it cost a family to participate in BBP?
- How does BBP decide which children to serve?
- Which children are eligible for BBP?
- How can a family sign up for BBP?
- Is a family's participation in BBP kept confidential?
- Does every child on BBP's registration list receive food?
- What would happen if BBP didn't have enough money to serve all the children on its registration list?
- Are children who are being served by BBP this school year automatically served next school year?
- How does BBP prepare and distribute the food to the children?
A backpack food program helps fill the "hunger gap" that many school children experience over weekends and holiday breaks when free or reduced-price cafeteria meals aren't available to them.
To our knowledge, no formal study has been done evaluating the effectiveness of programs like BBP. However, anecdotal evidence from backpack food projects around the country is impressive. Downright inspiring, in fact. Teachers and staff report that "backpack students" are attending school more regularly, exhibiting less anxiety and depression, paying attention longer, concentrating harder, and performing better academically than they did previously. They describe the children's joy in receiving their supply of food each Friday (and, unfortunately, their heartbreak when there's no food to be had, due to a lack of program resources).
A side benefit of a backpack food program is the strengthening of community as school personnel and neighbors of all ages and backgrounds join together in the effort, becoming more informed about those in their midst who are hungry and seeking to serve them more compassionately. Back to top
Zip. Nada. Zilch. Nothing at all. Back to top
BBP doesn't decide. Parents decide.
Any parent or guardian who believes that his or her child(ren) would benefit from this supplemental food resource should complete and return a BBP Consent Form (see below) as soon as possible. Back to top
Any child who is currently enrolled in the Brookings Public Schools or in Brookings Head Start is eligible for BBP. There is no other eligibility requirement. Back to top
Any family whose child attends the Brookings Public Schools or Brookings Head Start is welcome to register at any time before or during the school year. All a parent (or guardian) needs to do is complete and turn in a BBP Consent Form.
A BBP Consent Form may be obtained in various ways: Download below
- Download it from the Brookings Public Schools website
- Request it from a teacher or staff member at school or Head Start
- Pick it up during school registration, Head Start orientation, the Family Back 2 School Project event, numerous back-to-school and school-year functions, at the Boys & Girls Club, and at various other community locations
Parents (or guardians) need to fill out a Consent Form for their child only once per school year. If their child attends Head Start, they should complete the "BBP Consent Form for Head Start" and turn it in there. If their child attends the Public Schools, they should complete the "BBP Consent Form for Public Schools" and turn it in there. If they have children attending both Head Start and the Public Schools, they should complete two separate BBP Consent Forms (one for each site). This is because Head Start and the Brookings School District are separate educational entities.
*Each child needs to re-enroll each year.* Back to top
Teachers and staff members in the schools and Head Start are responsible for receiving parental Consent Forms, maintaining the list of registered children, notifying the BBP Team of how many foodbags are needed each week, and distributing the food to the students. While performing these tasks, they are as discreet as possible. They never disclose the names of participants to BBP volunteers. Nor do they release this information to other individuals or groups.
Despite these efforts at discretion, however, parents should be aware that as the number of participating children grows within each school site, it becomes increasingly more difficult to quietly distribute foodbags. Furthermore, many children (especially the youngest) disclose their participation in BBP to friends. The schools and BBP have no way of preventing this. Back to top
Currently, yes, thanks to the generosity of the Brookings community.
To begin serving a particular child, BBP must have received a Consent Form from his/her parent (or guardian) and must also have enough funds in hand to guarantee him/her an uninterrupted supply of weekend food through the end of the school year. At present, we are assisting 420 students–all the children who have registered for BBP, so far, during the 2015-2016. Since we have enough funds to serve even more students, registration remains open, and the number of participating children will no doubt continue to rise. Why? Because at this time we are probably assisting half of the children who might benefit from our services. This estimate is based on local enrollment in the free and reduced-price school lunch program, a strong indicator of need. Back to top
What would happen if BBP didn't have enough money to serve all the children on its registration list?
BBP resources are currently abundant enough that we can serve every child whose parents have sought assistance. We hope that this will always be the case.
However, if that day should arrive when money runs short, we would serve as many students as possible with the funds we have, beginning with the youngest children (and their siblings), on a first-registered-first-served basis. Any registered student whom we could not immediately supply with food, we would serve as soon as enough money was raised.
The care of the youngest children is our highest priority because the earliest years are the most critical for a child's physical, mental and cognitive development. Even mild under-nutrition during these years can have a devastating and long-lasting impact.
If we were to serve the youngest child in a family, we would also serve his or her older siblings. This would be the only fair thing to do, honoring and protecting the dignity and worth of every child in the family. Back to top
No. Parents must newly register their children each school year by completing a BBP Consent Form and returning it to their child's school or Head Start. The consent form can be obtained from the school staff, at various back-to-school and school-year events, or as a download from this website or the school's. Back to top
Each week of the school year BBP volunteers procure kid-friendly, easy-to-prepare food, package it on Wednesday night, then deliver it to Brookings Head Start and the Brookings Public Schools on Thursday and/or Friday. School personnel distribute the food to participating children before they leave for the weekend. (The schedule prior to school holidays is, of course, somewhat different.)
The food is given to the children in plastic grocery bags. Although backpacks are often used in similar programs around the nation, we are fortunate to have Sherwin Williams provide bags (free of charge) because they're less apt to be noticed by students' peers. Back to top