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  • Gig Harbor Living Local

Backpacks 4 Kids Sets Itself Apart

Updated: Mar 1

Food 4 All



Backpacks 4 Kids

 

By Rachel Kelly


Backpacks 4 Kids is a nonprofit that has set itself apart in its sector because of their focus on nutritionally dense foods. “We are working to create a local food hub that will benefit our whole community and will provide access to better foods for the people who need it most,” says Zaida Woodworth, the executive director at Backpacks 4 Kids — a nonprofit that envisions a community where everyone is well fed. The focus being “well fed” versus just being filled.


Backpacks 4 Kids began as an initiative to provide school children — especially those who were missing meals after leaving school — with snacks and ready-to-eat meals. Most of the food that they supply comes from the Emergency Food Network, but they also receive support from the local community and businesses. Through this program they fill backpacks at 15 different schools, which amounts to 150 children a week. Families are also welcome to the Family Pantry in Key Center Monday through Friday to shop for additional groceries for all-around nutrition. All together the nonprofit serves more than 1,000 families each month, with a focus on providing not just food — but good food. However, recently the Family Pantry has run into some issues with supply.


“We serve families every day to put better food on their tables. It has always been our priority to have fresh and healthy foods at the Family Pantry, but in the last year prices have inflated beyond our purchasing capacity, and we have had to reduce our fresh purchases,” Zaida shares. “This is the motivating force behind our newest initiative: Food 4 All.”


Food 4 All is an initiative under Backpacks 4 Kids to enable any interested person to be able to grow, cook, store and preserve their own food. To do this, Food 4 All is participating in the Washington State Department of Farm to Food Pantry Program, which will allow farms to get paid to provide produce to pantries. One such farm is Creviston Valley Farm, who is especially enthusiastic about renovating their farm for community use.


Food 4 All will also be opening a commercial community kitchen soon, where nutrient-dense food can be prepared and delivered to those who don’t have kitchen facilities. Within that same facility there are plans for events such as cooking classes on preservation, canning, and more; anything that might be learned to increase the use of farm-to-table foods. The space could also be rented to local businesses, supporting the local economy.


Food 4 All is a fulfillment of the Backpacks 4 Kids mission: to meet the nutritional needs of hungry families and children at times when other resources are not available. To be a stable source of healthy foods for those who need it most. Food 4 All brings the vision of a community where every child is well fed and able to reach their full potential closer to its realization. A community where no family is food insecure.

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