The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank’s BackPack program is a critical outreach project aimed at fighting child hunger and this vital program, is once again receiving a generous financial gift that will help sustain it for area students. BASF, a longtime supporter and founding partner of the BackPack program, is donating $25,000 to support the program’s efforts towards helping those children in need in Ascension Parish schools.

The BackPack program is a donor-funded program designed to help fill the void for low-income children. These children are at risk of missing meals over the weekend or during holidays when they are not in school and receiving free or reduced-price lunches through the National School Lunch Program.

“Our partnership with the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank allows us the opportunity to continue to support children and families in Ascension Parish,” said Sarah Haneline, Communications Specialist at BASF and member of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank board of directors. “By providing this basic need at a critical time for students’ learning and development, we hope to help set them up for future success.”

Backpacks are filled with a selection of nutritious, child friendly food items and then distributed to at-risk children enrolled in the program in select elementary schools. The backpacks are then discreetly sent home with children as young as pre-K and as old as fifth grade on Friday and returned empty on Monday morning. BASF has supported the program for many years both through funding and volunteer efforts.

“We are so fortunate to have support from business and industry partners. This gesture on the part of BASF is yet another example of a how a community can work to embrace its public school system, and more importantly, meet the needs of students that are serviced by the local school system. This program meets a critical need for students and eliminates obstacles and distractions that could compromise the quality of the classroom experience,” said Ascension Public Schools Superintendent David Alexander.

“We know that many students struggle with hunger during the holidays while not receiving free or reduced-price meals through the schools,” said Mike Manning, President and CEO of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. “We are very grateful to BASF for their longtime support of not only the BackPack program but also of our continued efforts to fulfill our mission through direct outreach to those in need.”