Helping Children in the St. Louis Metro Area

Hunger Doesn’t Take a Weekend Break

The Operation Backpack program decreases the burden of childhood hunger throughout the metro St. Louis area by providing weekend food assistance. In our service area, over 170,000 children live at or below the federal poverty level, a condition that almost always equates to missed meals and hunger. Since nutrition affects cognitive, social and emotional development, children who do not get proper food are more likely to have problems learning, growing and interacting. Operation Backpack ensures that children who rely on free or subsidized lunches continue to receive proper nutrition vital to their growth and development.


On Fridays, or the last day of school before the weekend or holiday vacation, participating children discreetly receive a backpack loaded with nutritious, easy-to-prepare foods. Children return the empty backpacks to school on Mondays to be refilled, and the cycle continues.

The weekly sacks of “kid-friendly,” shelf-stable food get students through the weekend when school meals are not available and:

  • Remove the barrier of hunger that contributes to poor school performance and attendance
  • Reduce health problems by mitigating the negative consequences of under-nutrition
  • Increase nutritional intake of participating students by providing healthy food in backpacks, limiting sugars and “empty” calories


The nutritious food provided enables children to come back to school on Monday with the focus they need to achieve academic success.

  • 87% of the school personnel have seen a positive impact on the families of students participating in the Operation Backpack program.
  • Nearly 60% of the teachers surveyed saw an improvement in academic performance and behavior from participating students.
  • Parents, grandparents, and guardians report the food assistance helps relieve both emotional and economic stress for the family. For participating children, this means they can learn more and worry less.


Please contact Program Coordinator Brooklyn Abbott to express your interest in a partnership for this coming school year.

Email Brooklyn

For every dollar donated by individuals, corporations, foundations, and organizations,
97 cents is devoted to programs and services.

HELP OUR NEIGHBORS IN NEED:    314-726-5355    |   1644 Lotsie Boulevard    |    Saint Louis, Missouri 63132