Student volunteers help prepare food packs for Island Harvest Food Bank’s Kids Weekend Backpack Feeding program. (Photo: Island Harvest Food Bank)
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Island Harvest bags $50K for backpack program

Island Harvest Food Bank this week announced that it received a $50,000 grant from the Morgan Stanley Foundation to help fund the nonprofit’s Kids Weekend Backpack Feeding Program, which provides support for food-insecure students who rely on their school food programs but don’t have enough to eat on the weekends.

Every Friday throughout the school year, the nonprofit discreetly provides food-insecure kids with enough for two breakfasts, two snacks and two servings of milk and juice. And as of the 2019-20 school year, Island Harvest added an important new component to the program.

Randi Shubin Dresner, president and CEO of Island Harvest, says the organization eventually learned that in many cases, a child’s entire household is food insecure. As a result, the nonprofit began adding a nutritious meal for a family of four that the students bring home on the weekend.

More than 100,000 children on Long Island qualify for free or reduced-price meals through the national school lunch and breakfast programs, according to Island Harvest. The nonprofit currently partners with 27 schools in Nassau and Suffolk counties and delivers food to more than 1,000 students every week.

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