TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - For the fifth year, kids in Tyler will have food for the weekends throughout the summer thanks to a summer backpack program.
KLTV’s Alex Leroux was at the backpack distribution today and spoke to those involved about why the program is so important.
While the East Texas Food Bank’s Summer Feeding Program covers kids Monday through Friday, their annual backpack program provides kids with food for the weekend.
"You can imagine, obviously you’re still hungry during the weekend, they’re really filling that meal gap for a lot of these kids by providing that food,” said Tim Butler, the program services director at East Texas Food Bank.
The program provides a bag full of food for the kids to take home and use as breakfast and lunch on Saturday and Sunday.
"In the backpack, there’s like nutritious food like milk and corn and vegetables and stuff good for your body,” said 10-year-old Elysia Moore, who was at the event with her cousin.
"We try to provide things that are kid friendly and not only things that they’re going to eat, obviously if were putting in a bunch of brussel sprouts that might not be super helpful, things they see appetizing but also things they might be able to make on their own,” Butler said.
And the kids who received the bags said they’re very thankful.
"I said thank you because I appreciated it because that will help us have good food for our bodies,” Moore said.
Throughout five years of the program, Butler says the reaction from the kids is usually the same.
"The kids are really excited on Fridays when they get their backpacks, they always know they’re going to have a little more sustenance on the weekend,” he said.
The backpacks will be distributed at 15 sites across Smith County through August 18th. Butler says the food bank expects to distribute more than 3,500 backpacks this summer.