Alleviating weekend hunger so that children arrive at school only hungry to learn.

The Backpack Program bridges the weekend hunger gap for children, and Kids Aid works diligently to remove all barriers to participation. Children do not have to travel to access food because volunteers bring the food directly to children at their home, school, or designated summer neighborhood sites. Kids Aid also has “Pop-Up” Stops throughout the valley so food is accessible to everyone. Neither children nor their parents are required to fill out a form to sign up to receive food—if a family or a child indicates that they need food, they get a bag. 

Menu selection, packing and distribution

Every week, Kids Aid reviews the food that is available at Food Bank of the Rockies, as well as our other food sources, and designs a menu using available food that has high nutritional content. Care is also taken to select age-appropriate food that children can prepare themselves and will not make the bag too heavy for children to carry.

Kids Aid typically distributes 10-14 items in each bag—two to three dinner items, two to three lunch items, two to three breakfast items and some nutritious snacks. The items are selected and paired so children can easily prepare meals (e.g., canned chicken is paired with refried beans and tortillas to make burritos.) Also, to ensure that children who cannot access food at Kids Aid’s primary sites do not go hungry, Kids Aid delivers food to community agencies in strategic locations throughout Mesa County. Some volunteers deliver food directly to children’s homes if they know that transportation is a barrier to accessing food.

Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, volunteers come to the warehouse and prepare the orders that will be distributed that week. Site Coordinators tell Kids Aid how many bags of food they need each week and share any unique circumstances or needed adjustments Sites are responsible for distributing the food to students.

Help Us, Help You! Take our survey.

If you, your child, or your family has ever received a bag of food from Kids Aid, please give us your feedback. Help us continue to make our program a success!

What foods are on your favorite list? What recipes are the tastiest? Beef sticks, yay or nay? Mac and Cheese, take it or leave it? Mashed potatoes and gravy, can we get a WAHOO!? 

All responses are anonymous and will help us improve the Kids Aid program. Thank you!

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who we serve?

There are no qualifications for children and youth to use The Backpack Program. If you are a hungry kid, we will feed you; no questions asked.

How to sign up?

Simply contact the your daycare/school site and ask for the Kids Aid Site Coordinator, talk to the child’s teacher, or front office staff. If your site doesn’t receive bags yet, call us at 970-210-2847. We will get you connected.

Who can enroll a kid?

Anyone can request a food bag for a child or youth. i.e., Parents, caregivers, teachers, school staff, doctors, etc.

Who will know that I get a bag?

Because Kids Aid doesn’t ask for names, only total number of bags needed per site, the Site Coordinator at your site will likely be the only person who knows, and we ask them to distribute bags discreetly.

Where do we deliver?

We deliver all throughout Mesa County, Colorado—including every school in Mesa County Valley School District 51, Colorado Mesa University, IntelliTec College, Gateway, Plateau Valley, Debeque, preschools, day care centers, alternative schools, K-12 schools, homeschools, private schools, charter schools, summer programs, community centers, and local nonprofit agencies. Kids Aid also has “Pop-Up Stops” throughout the valley so no one has to go without food over the weekend. Please contact us if you would like to bring The Backpack Program to your location. We’re always accepting new community partners.

When do we deliver?

Volunteers deliver bags to schools and sites on Wednesday or Thursday mornings, or the day before an extended weekend. See our calendar for distribution dates. It is up to the school/site to distribute the bags before the weekend begins.

What time of year are bags available?

The Backpack Program is available nearly all year.

  • Throughout the school year, bags of food are distributed weekly. Double bags are distributed before long breaks include extra food items to help students get through the extended breaks without hunger. 
  • Over the summer, Kids Aid follows District 51’s Lunch Lizard program routes and distributes our bags of food on Thursdays so kids can eat over the weekends through the summers as well. Kids Aid delivers bags to summer extension programs, daycares, preschools, REC programs, and camps, as well as other programs that are open all summer. Kids Aid also partners with school liaisons over the summer to deliver Kids Aid food bags to children’s homes if they are unable to get to a Lunch Lizard stop. Bags are available at our Pop Up Stops all year long!
What’s in the bags?
  • In a typical bag there are dinner items, lunch items, breakfast items, and snack items. Some foods you might find in your bag:
    • Skillet dinners, locally made tortillas, canned pastas with meat, protein: tuna or chicken, canned beans, soup, rice, applesauce, canned fruits, raisins, dried fruit, yogurt pouches, instant oatmeal, cereal, granola and/or cereal bars, shelf-sustainable milk and cheese, macaroni and cheese, ramen noodles, trail mix, beef sticks, jerky, crackers, chips, popcorn, cookies, fresh apples and oranges (pending availability)
How do we choose the menu?

Availability of menu items, cost, weight, and nutritional values are considered when preparing our weekly menus.