Hi-Five Back Pack Program Renewed and Expanded to Feed Students in Need

The Hi- Five Back Pack Program which provides food packs to students in need will be expanded from two to all eight public elementary schools serving Winter Park, Maitland and Eatonville thanks to a grant from the Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF) through its Children & Youth Work Group.

 Launched by the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida in 2006, the Hi-Five Back Pack program was made available to needy children at Cheney and Hungerford Elementary Schools last year thanks to Children & Youth Work Group grant.

Because of the success of the program and the growing need for these supplemental services because of the poor economy, the Work Group has approved a grant of up to $35,000 to renew the program and expand it to all of the public elementary schools serving students in Winter Park, Maitland and Eatonville.

The grant will cover an estimated 1,632 packs to be distributed each month for five months, or a total of 8,160 packs. It will also support efforts to distribute food to needy families during the upcoming holiday break.

The program is expected to begin in mid-December and run through May 2010.

Students to receive the food packs, which are discreetly slipped into student backpacks to protect student privacy, are identified by school principals in collaboration with teachers and staff—including school nurses and CHILL counselors who are part of the WPHF Coordinated Youth Initiative.

In addition, WPHF has connected dietitians with the Second Harvest Food Bank to review pack contents and make recommendations for healthier options.

The food packs, which are designed to ensure students have some food when school is not in session, are provided monthly.