An Evalulation of the BackPack Program in East Central Illinois
Millions of school age children in the United States are in households experiencing food insecurity (i.e., households without access to enough food to maintain a healthy, active life), and in response, the U.S. government manages large-scale food assistance programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program. Despite these efforts, there still exists a gap between need and available services. The BackPack Program was designed to meet the needs of hungry children at times when other resources are not available, such as weekends and school vacations. Food banks partner with local schools who help identify children at-risk for hunger who are provided with child-friendly, easy-to-prepare food which are discreetly distributed to children on Friday afternoon. While programs such as the BackPack Program represent an important component of the nation's efforts to alleviate food insecurity, little is known about the potential impact of the program on children's hunger relief and associated factors such as school performance and family climate. This study will address the following questions: What is the impact on the household levels of food security? Does participationg in crease school attendance on days of distribution? What is the impact on family mealtimes?
- Barbara H. Fiese, PhD, Professor and Director, Family Resiliency Center
- Craig Gundersen, PhD, Associate Professor, Agricultural and Consumer Economics
- Brenda Koester, MS, Assistant Director, Family Resiliency Center
- LaTesha Washington, Graduate Research Assistant
- Andrea Rundell, Eastern Illinois Foodbank
- Christopher Family Foundation Food and Family Program
- USDA Hatch Act Funds
- This research was funded in part by a grant from Feeding America and Morgan Stanley
In the News
Study: More than 100,600 people receive emergency food each year through Eastern Illinois Foodbank. (2010, Feb 5) The Medical News. Retrieved February 8, 2010, from http://www.news-medical.net/news/20100205/Study-More-than-100600-people-receive-emergency-food-each-year-through-Eastern-Illinois-Foodbank.aspx
U of I faculty assist in evaluating US food security programs. (2010, Feb 7) A Science Centric. Retrieved February 8, 2010 from http://www.sciencecentric.com/news/article.php?q=10020741-u-i-faculty-assist-evaluating-us-food-security-programs
U of I Faculty Assist In Evaluating US Food Security Programs. (2010, Feb 5) redOrbit. Retrieved February 8, 2010 from http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/1819478/u_of_i_faculty_assist_in_evaluating_us_food_security/
Brenda Koester, Project Coordinator
This project will enable us to answer three key questions: What is the impact of the BackPack Program on household levels of food insecurity? Does participation in the program increase school attendance on days of distribution? What is the impact of the program on family meal times?