JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - As a new school year begins, thousands of Duval County children will find relief for their hungry stomachs by visiting school cafeterias and benefiting from the free and reduced-cost meals they provide. Weekdays always lead to weekends, however, where empty refrigerators and pantries await them at home.
Little bags of hope are helping to eliminate this food insecurity problem for many children across north Florida through the Second Harvest North Florida BackPack program – but thousands more are going without. Daily Billboards and Second Harvest are teaming up to help find funding for this important initiative in the month of August, working to provide an additional 2,100 children with weekend resources during the coming school year.
“Hungry children can’t thrive,” said Bruce Ganger, executive director of Second Harvest North Florida. “If they go home for a weekend and don’t eat, they come to school on Mondays and can’t learn or concentrate on their schoolwork. They have headaches and stomachaches. The BackPack Program helps fill an important void for children that might not otherwise eat when they aren’t at school.”
More than 600 children received weekly assistance through the BackPack Program during the 2011-12 school year, and that number will grow to more than 700 in 2012-13. The additional 2,100 backpacks would be distributed through the Second Harvest Kids Cafe program, which serves children from low-income homes nutritious snacks as part of certified afterschool programs.
The cost per child to receive weekly backpacks is $100 per year – which provides resources for 42 weeks, or each weekend throughout the school year as well as over holiday breaks. Included in the bags are breakfast, lunch and dinner items that are ready-to-eat or easily prepared in the home with limited assistance.
Backpacks are distributed each week when school lets out and is full of child-friendly, nonperishable food items. The assistance is designed to help feed a family of four for two days – or even longer over extended weekends and holiday breaks.
Bethany Kline will run a series of messages on the Daily Billboards supporting the initiative. The billboards encourage donors to learn more about the program and help achieve the goal of feeding the 2,100 additional children for this school year for only $100 per child.
“I am excited to challenge the Jacksonville community to feed 2,100 children through the Second Harvest BackPack Program,” said Kline. “Working with many of Jacksonville’s nonprofits is a personal passion of mine and an important and very meaningful part of my business. Daily Billboards takes great pride in partnering with nonprofit organizations to educate our community about these services through campaigns, fundraisers, and events advertised on the 16 Daily Billboard Locations.”
More than half of the children enrolled in the Duval County Public School System are eligible for federal free and reduced-cost breakfast and lunch programs, meaning that the start of school will bring regular nourishment and access to healthy foods that help make them strong and able to learn more effectively.
For more information about the BackPack Program, or to learn how you can help, visit WeNourishHope.org/BackPack.
About Second Harvest North Florida
Second Harvest North Florida is the oldest and largest program of Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida. LSS was founded in 1979 by area Lutherans and business leaders to fill gaps in services offered in the community for people in need. Second Harvest gathers food from local and national sources, shares these resources with more than 450 nonprofit organizations in 17 North Florida counties and helps thousands of people each year who are hungry or at risk of not having being able to provide food for themselves and their families. In addition to collecting and distributing food, Second Harvest serves children in after-school programs through its Kids Café and BackPack programs and in summer camps through its Summer Lunch program. It also takes Mobile Pantries filled with Family Boxes of food to people living in neighborhoods with the greatest needs. Call 904.730.8234 for more information about any of these programs and services.
About Daily Billboards
Daily Billboards owns sixteen full size 14' x 48' Outdoor Billboards that can be changed daily with 18" letters for easy reading. Each billboard specifically targets morning and afternoon rush hour traffic. Your advertisement is up for a full & constant 24 hours. You can reach up to 140,000 customers with each board daily. Daily Billboards can be used by the day, week, or month and custom packages enable you to choose when and where you would like to advertise. We offer you the flexibility of television, radio, and print combined with the LOW-COST and HIGH EXPOSURE of traditional outdoor billboards. The daily change keeps your customers interested, overcoming the "Tune Out Factor." Call Bethany Kline @ 904-339-5929 or Bethany@dailybillboards.com for pricing, locations, & reservations.