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Summer food backpack program kicks off Friday in Tyler

Published: Jun. 21, 2018 at 2:43 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 28, 2018 at 10:53 AM CDT
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More than 5,000 backpacks full of food will be handed out this summer to make sure no kids goes...
More than 5,000 backpacks full of food will be handed out this summer to make sure no kids goes hungry over the weekend (Source: KLTV staff)
The summer food backpacks are fill with shelf-stable items like peanut butter, granola bars,...
The summer food backpacks are fill with shelf-stable items like peanut butter, granola bars, and soup, according to the East Texas Food Bank (Source: KLTV staff)

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - The East Texas Food Bank and the Junior League of Tyler will make sure children have enough to eat on the weekends by launching its fourth annual  Summer Backpack program on Friday.

The East Texas Food Bank is helping through the summer months while school is out, but many programs only run during the weekdays. Judie Bower, President of the Junior League of Tyler, has the answer, and food for the weekend.

RELATED: East Texas Food Bank's summer program for kids begins

"For the past three years, we've donated money to help them put on this program," Bower said. "Without it, I don't think they'd have the resources needed to do that."

Dennis Cullinane, CEO of the East Texas Food Bank, added that the program is difficult to sustain all year.

"You know we've got a very robust backpack program during the year and it's hard to find funding for it during the summer. The Junior League of Tyler who has supported us in numerous types of programs really stepped up this year," Cullinane commented.

"We also provide volunteers on Fridays to go and pass out the food," Bower said. "It's a great partnership. We're thrilled to be apart of it"

Children at 11 Summer Food Program sites will receive a backpack of food for the weekend, filled with nutritious kid-friendly items such as soup, peanut butter, granola bars, fruit, juice and shelf-stable milk, according to the ETFB. The Junior League of Tyler provided $20,000 for the program, enough for approximately 5,000 backpacks to be distributed.

The ETFB has said that 1 out of 4 Smith County kids is at risk of hunger. Cullinane added that the program is free to everyone under the age of 18, meaning there is no qualification other than needing a meal.

If you'd like more information about the backpack program, or where you can receive a backpack for the weekend, please visit the East Texas Food Bank website, or browse the interactive map above this story to find your nearest location.

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