Kids Pack Program Impacts 400 Kids!

Kids Pack Program Evaluation 2009/2010 School Year

Introduction

Despite the growing local and national popularity of the KidsPack Program designed from the Backpack Program model, neither program has received attention in scholarly literature on its impact. Similarly, little previous research has examined the Gallatin Valley Food Bank’s KidsPack Program specific need in the community, program indictors, or the program’s impact on childhood hunger in the area.

This evaluation seeks to broaden our understanding of the KidsPack Program by using school-level surveys and focus groups with teachers to assess indicators of program impact and program need. The analysis contributes evidence on the underlying reasons for childhood food insecurity and the impact of the KidsPack Program on participating students’ overall well-being. Most schools providing KidsPack assistance are located near areas that are served by the Gallatin Valley and Headwaters Area Food Banks or a satellite service, yet children still appear to be hungry or worried about food when they come to school. Survey responses indicate a number of reasons why children are facing food insecurity in Gallatin County including unemployed parents, parents who spend long hours away from home and cannot make ends meet, and parents who suffer from substance abuse. In a newly participating school, Monday discipline referrals fell significantly when compared to the previous year’s total. While several other school-level policies and changes occurred over the course of the school-year the addition of the KidsPack Program was the most considerable change. In contrast, school-level survey results yielded strong evidence of multiple benefits for participating students’ well-being including better relationships with school staff and/or other students, feeling more secure, more interest in school, and fewer behavior problems (healthier).

Read the full report….KidsPack Program Evaluation 09-10 final

Written by Lori Christenson of HRDC’s Gallatin Valley Food Bank