Backpack Program, which keeps kids fed, set to expand

HUDSON-A backpack full of food can feed a child through the weekend when some kids don’t get the two meals a day they receive at school, said Linda Fix who was staffing a booth at the recent Hudson Children’s Book Festival.

The Columbia County Backpack Program started last fall with funding of $5,000, including $2,500 from the Hudson River Bank & Trust Foundation. Since October 2010, the program has provided nutritious, kid-friendly food to 44 children in the Hudson school district. Now Ms. Fix hopes to expand the program countywide to include children in all six school districts.

The data that show 57% of children in the Hudson School District qualify for a free or reduced fee lunch is evidence of the widespread economic challenges in the school district.

“They do great work helping to alleviate child hunger in Columbia County by providing nutritious food to school children at times when other sources are not available,” said Congressman Chris Gibson (R-20th) on the group’s FaceBook page, after meeting Ms. Fix at the book festival.

It costs $167 to provide food for one child during school-year weekends. Food from the regional food bank is packed by volunteers into knapsacks that kids return each week. The all-volunteer program started in April of 2010 after a lecture about a similar program was presented at Kids in Motion. The program is run by a committee that includes Trudy Beicht, Anna Duhon, Carol Gans, Jane Miller, Alice Mockovciak, Karyn Novakowski, Kari Rieser, Lynn Seftner, Pam Strompf, Bonnie-Jo Westendorf and Tara McSherry-Wolfe.

For more information call Linda Fix at 518 828-4401

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