- Youth Development
- Healthy Living
- Social Responsibility
The Healthy Kids Network (HKN) Backpack Program addresses the basic needs of students in Licking County by providing carriers of nutritious and easy-to-prepare food to take home on weekends when other resources may not be available. While free and reduced breakfast and lunch are available during the school week, unreliable access to food over the weekends can affect the level of food insecurity experienced by the student, increasing stress and decreasing productivity. Children who are hungry simply cannot concentrate to learn, have low energy, and reduced ability to fight off common childhood illnesses.
HKN launched the Back Pack Pilot Program in January 2015. 65 elementary students in one Newark school were served weekend meals. By 2016, the program has expanded to six additional schools in need, serving nearly 300 students per week.
There are several advantages in the way the Backpack Program addresses the needs of hungry children: