Backpack Buddies

150 kindergarten and first graders at John A. Johnson Elementary are the recipients of the JLSP
Backpack Buddy program.  Backpack Buddies provides nutritional meals to youth whose primary source of food is the school cafeteria. By providing food items for the weekend, the program bridges the nutritional gap for these
students and improves their nourishment.  This helps ensure that their brains are fueled for learning in the classroom. 

In the US, more than 1 out of 5 children lives in an household with food insecurity, which means they
do not always know where they will find their next meal. 98% of the students at Johnson Elementary qualify for free and reduced lunch. Over 583,000 Minnesotans are food insecure.

Members of the Junior League of Saint Paul volunteer to pack and deliver food each week so that it
may be distributed to the children at the end of each school week. Every week the children receive the following:

  • 2 breakfasts
  • 2 fruits and vegetables
  • 2 high protein item such as canned chicken or chili
  • Nutrient rich beverages such as 100% juice or shelf stable milk (when available)

All of these items are healthy additions to make sure a well-balanced diet is achieved. They are able to be easily prepared, require no additional ingredients, and are individual servings.

The JLSP is an agency of Second Harvest Heartland, the Upper Midwest’s largest food bank, which allows for the purchase of healthy food at very low cost.  Our program is funded entirely through grants and donations. We are an official partner of Saint Paul Public Schools.

To donate to Backpack Buddies click here.

For more information on the Backpack Buddy program contact

 2013 Backpack Buddies Fall Survey Responses and Update