Angela Rhea, 2nd grade teacher at Blythe Elementary School, holds a bag full of kid-friendly food. As the BackPack Program Coordinator, she ensures children facing food insecurity receive a bag of food for the weekend.

Tucked away in Angela Rhea’s 2nd grade classroom, ziplock bags filled with shelf-stable milk, juice, snacks, pop-tab entrées, and more waited to be packed discreetly into children’s backpacks for the weekend.

These packs of kid-friendly food are from Golden Harvest Food Bank’s BackPack Program, a volunteer-powered initiative to provide healthy food for students who rely on school meals during the week.

“Their faces light up when they get to take it home,” said Angela.

Angela is the coordinator for the BackPack Program at Blythe Elementary School in Blythe, Georgia, where the program has helped families in need since 2013.

“We know that they need it,” she said. “Everything has gotten so expensive, and we just want them to have what they need to have. The kids smile, and they say thank-you.”

At Golden Harvest, the BackPack Program is made possible by volunteers, who fill each bag with nutritious items and prepare them to be sent to schools across Georgia and South Carolina. It takes dozens of volunteers every week to put the program in action.

With 1 in 4 children in our service area struggling to get enough to eat, the BackPack Program is vital for thousands of students. The program provides weekend nutrition thousands of students each week.

“This program is very important for the children to have what they need,” said Angela. “Overall, it’s just overwhelming to think that we make a difference, that Golden Harvest makes a difference every day, in families’ lives and children’s lives.”

Every meal matters for children experiencing food insecurity. Thanks to our supporters, volunteers, and outstanding educators like Angela, we are able to provide local kids with the nutrition they need to thrive.

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