The BackPack Food Program will add three more elementary schools to its roster this fall - Roosevelt, Garfield, and Eagle Lake - and an approximate 150 additional students. That is in addition to the approximate 610 students and six elementary schools (Franklin, Jefferson, Kennedy, Rosa Parks, Monroe, and Washington) it currently serves.
Read the full article from the Free Press here.
Feeding Our Communities Partners receives a $55,000+ grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation to help end local hunger
MANKATO, MN— August 1, 2014—Feeding Our Communities Partners (FOCP) today announced that it has received a $55,822 grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation. The grant gives $30,000 to FOCP’s BackPack Food Program to help maintain and expand the program during the 2014-15 school year. Additionally, the Foundation has pledged up to $10,000 in matching funds that would come from the BackPack Food Program’s Direct Mail Campaign. The remaining $25,822 will provide funding for the Blue Earth County Community Farm (BECCF), a collaborative initiative between FOCP and Blue Earth County.
FOCP addresses a critical need for the food-insecure population in our local community. Feeding America, in its Map the Meal Gap study, reports that over twelve percent of Blue Earth County residents are not always sure where their next meal will come from. More specifically, sixteen percent of children in Blue Earth County are food insecure and thirty percent of food-insecure families are likely not eligible for federal nutrition programs.
“We are striving to bring an end to local hunger and we are grateful that the Otto Bremer Foundation recognizes the immediate need for this type of assistance,” said Melinda Wedzina, executive director of FOCP. “The foundation has continued its support of the BackPack Food Program and Community Farm, helping FOCP develop and sustain two initiatives that alleviate local hunger.”
The BackPack Food Program discreetly provides healthy, well-balanced meals to hungry elementary students to sustain them through the weekends and extended school breaks when food may not be otherwise available. It currently serves over 600 students at six schools in Mankato and North Mankato. During the 2014-15 school year, it will expand to serve five more schools and 250 additional students, with the ultimate goal of reaching the approximate 1,200 food-insecure youth in Mankato and Blue Earth County public schools by the end of the 2015-16 school year. The BECCF focuses on supplying food assistance programs, such as ECHO Food Shelf and the Salvation Army, with fresh locally grown produce. During each of its last two growing seasons, the farm has produced approximately 7,500 pounds of fresh vegetables.
About Feeding Our Communities Partners FOCP is a nonprofit organization focused on ending hunger locally and has a mission of optimizing collaboration and developing initiatives to decrease hunger. FOCP directs the BackPack Food Program, a service-gap initiative to relieve childhood weekend hunger, and collaborates with Blue Earth County to administer the Blue Earth County Community Farm, a project which utilizes local resources to provide volunteer-grown fresh produce for area hunger assistance programs. FOCP is a partner agency of the Greater Mankato Area United Way. For further information, please visit: www.FeedingOurCommunitiesPartners.org
About the Otto Bremer Foundation Created in 1944, the Otto Bremer Foundation assists people in achieving full economic, civic and social participation in and for the betterment of their communities. The Foundation strives to help build healthy, vibrant communities in the places that are homes and neighbors to Bremer banks—communities where basic needs are met, mutual regard is prized and opportunities for economic, civic and social participation are within everyone's reach. The Otto Bremer Foundation owns 92 percent of Bremer Bank, and receives an equivalent share of the bank profits that are paid out as dividends. This means that a large portion of bank profit is invested back in local communities through grants and program-related investments.