Snack Backpack

Snack Backpack Food Items (ongoing)
  • Cheddar Cheese Ramen Noodles

  • Ramen Noodles (chicken, beef, etc.)

  • Microwavable Ravioli or Beefaroni (with pop-tops or microwavable bowls)

  • Pop-top Chicken Noodle Soup

  • Microwavable Popcorn (individual servings)

  • Apple Sauce Cups with Foil Top

  • Poptarts

  • Instant Oatmeal (individual servings) or Dry Cereal (individual box/bowl servings)


How can a child focus on solving a math problem or memorizing a new word in school when they are trying to ignore the persistent pangs of hunger? Teachers and counselors have found that in some instances, Monday morning comes and they are forced to compete against hunger for the attention of their students. Unfortunately, many school children in our community, who participate in the National School Lunch Program, go home to little or no food on the weekends. The RIFA Snack Backpack ministry works to fill this gap by providing kid-friendly, easy-to-prepare, nutritious food items for children who are at risk of going hungry on Saturdays and Sundays.

The Snack Backpack program started 12 years ago with the love and concern for one school and 25 children. Today, RIFA provides more than 900 backpacks of food to children at 15 local elementary schools each week during the school year.

At RIFA, we see so many families struggling to afford food. The stress on parents is unthinkable; to not have enough food to feed your child is heartbreaking. Food is a basic need for everyone but especially for growing children.

As of 2013,

  • 30% of children lived in poverty in Madison County
  • 24% of children in Madison County live in food insecure homes
  • 84% of all students (9,061) in JMCSS receive free or reduced lunch at school.

The children who participate in the Snack Backpack ministry are referred to RIFA by caring teachers and staff. These children have shown signs of living in a food insecure home. The backpacks are assembled each week by volunteers and every Friday RIFA distributed to the schools.

Teachers and schools are seeing a difference and are reporting improvements in test scores and positive behavioral gains.

“There are students in my school who would not be able to eat over the weekend if they did not receive this bag of food. I know that it is not much in most people’s eyes, but it means the world to my students. I know that the program is being effective when I see my students on Monday morning, and they do not look like they are starving. Not only does the food help the student to be healthier, but also it allows the student to sleep better at home and focus more at school.”
- Local Principal

How you can help:

Your tax-deductible donation provides so much to many who have so little:
$3.78 will feed a child for one weekend
$159 will feed a child for an entire school year (42 weeks)
$794 will feed 5 children for an entire school year (42 weeks)
$1,588 will feed 10 children for an entire school year (42 weeks)

Please join us in fighting hunger in our community and consider a donation to help fund this important need for children in our schools.