How the Fill the Backpack program helps local students

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Fill the Backpack program ensures that kids have food over the weekend.

The Food Bank of Western New York partners with schools that have the greatest need. Many of the students at these schools get free or reduced lunch.

George Southard Elementary School in Lockport is one of the 41 schools in the program.
Nurse Lisa Dannebrook said the program is helpful because it not only ensures kids have full bellies over the weekend, but it helps them focus in the classroom.

“If the kids are hungry you can’t concentrate. You can’t learn. You’re not going to want to learn. You’re not going to want to be in class. They get sick. They get stomach aches. They get headaches,” Dannebrook said. “This just gives them a little bit of extra. It helps the families out. It’s great.”

Each week throughout the school year, kids get a bag of nutritious food that can be shared with their family. They get fruits and vegetables, a snack, and enough for a meal, like pasta and sauce.

“I think the program is really helping them fulfill those gaps over the weekend when they may not have a full meal at home,” Jenn Gilson, the principal at Charles Upson Elementary School said.

We spoke with some of the students who are part of the program. Each of them had a favorite food that’s in the bag, but most importantly, they were all so grateful just to receive it.

News 4 has teamed up with Wegmans, the Food Bank of Western New York and Fidelis Care for this campaign.

If you want to help out, you can stop at your local Wegmans and purchase a $3, $5, or $10 bag of food at checkout. The bags of food will be sorted at the food bank. Then it will be sent to the schools in time for the start of the next school year. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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