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Year-round weekend food available for youths

By Staff | May 22, 2019

The F.I.S.H of Sanibel-Captiva Backpack Program is designed to battle childhood hunger and food insecurity by providing weekend food and extra snacks for children.

Similar backpack programs elsewhere are offered only during the school year, but F.I.S.H. offers its throughout the entire year, including over summer break

“Good nutrition is an important part of a child’s physical and mental health; it helps promote academic achievement,” Program Director Kathy Y. Monroe said. “This program provides children with supplemental food so they can continue to have healthy food choices when school-provided meals are not available on weekends, holidays or during summer months.”

Offered to eligible households that live or work on Sanibel or Captiva, the program supports youth in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. Each week, participating students are given non-perishable nutritious foods that are kid-friendly, easy to prepare and great tasting.

The program, in partnership with Blessings in a Backpack and partially sponsored by the Sanibel-Captiva Kiwanis Club Foundation and private donors, is offered at no cost to the participants.

“We evaluate our Backpack Program food choices and make changes and adjustments as necessary. All backpacks contain protein, fruits and vegetables, snacks and non-sugary drinks. The backpacks are occasionally enhanced with a sweet treat,” Monroe said. “We try to include organic and vegetarian choices as well.”

The food backpacks are assembled by F.I.S.H. volunteers and available for pick-up at the Walk-In Center at any time during the week. Households may opt in and out of the program as needed.

For more information, contact Walk-In Center Manager Maria Espinoza or Social Services Assistant Anthony Morales at 239-472-4775.