Booster Pak is for students who are food insecure and who are not getting sufficient food outside of school on a regular basis. The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as households that are uncertain of having, or unable to acquire, enough food to meet basic needs of all their members because of insufficient money or other resources. When the guardian of a child has to choose between food and other necessities, e.g., having the electricity shut off because they don’t have enough money, it is an indicator of food insecurity.
How to respond to a child who says he/she is hungry:
A child who complains about being hungry is not necessarily a child who automatically qualifies for BackPack Program. Generally speaking, growing children have an appetite and will say they are hungry at periods throughout the day. However, in the case of a chronically hungry child, certain questions can be asked to assess need. In the morning, a child may say they are hungry. Ask them if they ate breakfast. If they are eligible for free, or reduced price breakfast then make sure they are taking advantage of this program. If they say, they skipped breakfast find out why. Ask if they had enough food in their house or if it was just the case that they woke up late and didn’t have time for breakfast. If they did eat breakfast, ask what they ate and if it was enough to make them full. You may also ask if they ate dinner the previous night. Once again ask what they had for dinner and if it was enough to fill them up.
By asking a few questions you should be able to assess whether or not this is just a case of normal hunger (where your stomach growls in anticipation for food – not because of a series of involuntary missed meals) or whether this seems to be a frequent incident that results because of food insecurity (the inability to afford enough food). Obviously a child who says there is never enough food in the house or that all they had for dinner were some potato chips is the child who is considered chronically hungry. Even if a child worries that there will not be enough food at home, this is a cause for concern.
Click on the links below to download pdf information about the programs.