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Backpack Food Program

Schools and Youth Centers, Basic Needs, Organic Gardens and Food, Seasonal Programs in Menominee, Wisconsin (Menominee)


Menominee, Wisconsin



The Menominee Indian School District, Keshena, WI

"Our school district suffers from a high rate of poverty. As a result, children come to school having not eaten over the weekend. Our teachers have documented that this lack of food causes fatigue, absenteeism, and poor health, and is impacting the children's ability to learn." 

During the 2010-2011 school year, the Menominee Indian School District gave their pre-K and Kindergarten kids a "Smart Sack," or backpack stuffed with nutritious snacks on Fridays so that they have food to eat on the weekends. Teachers saw a big difference and came to Running Strong to help more kids in their school. Together, we worked out a plan to expand "Smart Sacks" from pre-K through the 3rd grade, feeding 300 kids each week! That's 9,000 total Smart Snacks for this upcoming school year!

Running Strong will send healthy foods like milk, sunflower seeds, chicken noodle soup, beef stew, fruit and grain bars, oatmeal and raisins for each week. School volunteers will pack and distribute the sacks at the end of each week. 

By buying in bulk, $35 will provide each child a “Smart Sack” for the entire school year! Times are tough and we need your support to keep this important program going. 

Thanks in part to this program the Menominee Indian School District became the 1st school on an Indian Reservation in the Midwest to win a Silver in the USDA US Healthier School Challenge for meeting rigorous standards for school meals, physical activity, and nutrition education. They are really becoming a national model and we’re so happy to see a Native school as an active member of the national conversation! 

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