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For Needy Kids Hungry On Weekends, A Food Safety Net Program

This article is more than 9 years old.

Because our country has such a serious obesity problem, it's easy to think about all the children who have access to too much food and not think enough about the kids who routinely go without.

But hunger and malnutrition are still problems for many children in the U.S., and there's plenty of evidence that when students don't have a proper diet their academic performance and school attendance rates drop.

Considering all that, here's something that startled us: for some kids, their primary source of nutrition is the school cafeteria. Monday through Friday, it's where they get their biggest and healthiest meal of the day. And that means that on weekends and over holiday breaks, some students spend a lot of that time feeling hungry.

So the Cambridge Public Schools recently started a food safety net program meant to solve that problem. It's called the "Cambridge Weekend Backpack Program" and it's a partnership of several entities, including the school system; Whole Foods, which provides milk; and Food For Free, which supplies 250 pieces of fresh fruit each week.

WBUR's Sacha Pfeiffer spoke with its founder and a school administrator about how it works.


Alanna Mallon,  founder of the Cambridge Weekend Backpack Program

Patricia Beggy, principal at the Morse School in Cambridgeport

This segment aired on January 10, 2014.

Sacha Pfeiffer Host, All Things Considered
Sacha Pfeiffer was formerly the host of WBUR's All Things Considered.



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