Food Bank of Northern Indiana launches enhanced backpack pilot program

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Nearly 29,000 children across Northern Indiana are food insecure. For 15 years, the Food Bank of Northern Indiana has stepped up to help these children.

The Food 4 Kids Backpack Program serves 2,825 students at 47 schools in Elkhart, LaPorte, Marshall, Starke and St. Joseph County. Throughout the pandemic, this initiative has become even more important.

Backpacks are provided to kids for 38 weeks of the school year and all holidays. Groceries are given in a backpack before heading into the weekend to keep the food discreet and avoid any stigma.

Now, because of one continued sponsor, the program is adding an enhanced pilot program!

It is called the Enhanced Food 4 Kids Pilot program. The initiative adds even more food to the backpacks. This pilot program is being launched only at one school and is to help provide food for multiple kids in the family.

Typically, these backpacks cost $150 per child for a school year. The enhanced program is $320 for the year per child. While the program originated in 2006, this year is even more important following difficult years for those who are food insecure as well as nonprofits.

Jordan Automotive Group has been contributing to the initiative since 2009, and plays a major role in this pilot launch.

“We cannot do what we do without the commitment and the volunteer support and the financial commitment of Jordan Automotive Group for the past 13 years," says Marijo Martinec, Executive Director and CEO of the Food Bank of Northern Indiana. “They truly are the heart and soul of the program; it is a part of their culture. I have been at the dealership and heard them talk about it, always willing to help and listen to new ideas, it is humbling.”

Learn how to help the Food Bank here.

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