Our Mission

To identify chronically hungry children throughout the community and provide them with food and vital resources on a regular basis.

What happens

when a child is hungry?

Studies show that food insecure children have lower test scores and increased behavioral problems. They can also suffer from embarrassment over their situation, making it difficult for them to share childhood experiences that most of us take for granted.

The Food4Kids Backpack Program of North Florida fills backpacks with nonperishable food and distributes them to students in need, from kindergarten through high school. The kids bring these backpacks home on Friday and return them on Monday so they can be refilled for the following weekend. They also receive larger boxes of food for extended holidays and summer breaks.

We are a 100% volunteer-run program with one basic principle in mind – we see a need and are compelled to act. We partner with schools in our local community with the anticipation of growing to meet the needs of our county’s food insecure families.

Our Story

Several years ago on a Monday morning, Jennifer Moore took pizza, juice and cupcakes to Terwilliger Elementary School to celebrate her daughter’s birthday with her third grade class. She noticed that as most kids were still finishing their first slices of pizza, a few were already asking for seconds and thirds.

When Jennifer asked the teacher about these children, she learned that the reason they were so hungry was because it was a Monday, and there was a very good chance that the last full meal they had eaten had been at lunch on Friday. After looking into the matter further, she learned that one out of four children in North Florida live in food-unstable homes – meaning that they don’t have reliable access to food and other resources, especially on the weekends.

That is when she decided to start the Food4Kids Backpack Program to provide these kids with basic nutrition when they need it most. With the help of Todd Morrone, the Gainesville Television Network and a number of individuals throughout the community, the program took off in March of 2010 and has been helping to feed these students every weekend since.

Our Goals

Establish a central foundation for North Florida to identify and acquire resources, gather volunteers from communities and schools, and coordinate distribution of food.

Partner with food banks, faith networks and local businesses to create a sustainable support network.

Achieve full participation of all schools across Alachua County.

Develop county networks and engage county coordinators throughout North Florida.

Jennifer Moore

Jennifer Moore

CEO & Founder

Born & raised in Gainesville, Fl but witnessed firsthand the need for the program in January of 2010. Remains passionate about sustaining and growing Food4Kids to reduce childhood hunger in our local community. Continues to work beside the individual teams and the community to ensure "No Child Goes to Bed Hungry!"

Mary Benedict

Mary Benedict

Enrollment Coordinator

Mary coordinates the enrollment of new students from partner schools into the Food4Kids Backpack Program. Responsible for working with school reps to ensure required paperwork is complete.

Rozanne Smith

Rozanne Smith

Warehouse Coordinator

Focuses on warehouse organization and function. Works directly with volunteers and groups who donate their time to perform tasks and important jobs "behind the scenes" in the warehouse.

Barbara Martin-Hasty

Barbara Martin-Hasty

Site Coordinator Liaison

Serves as the contact person for site coordinators at each partner site. Mentors new site coordinators and provides ongoing support to ensure school pantry logistics and distribution details are running smoothly.

Rachel Alty

Rachel Alty

Food Donation Coordinator

Works with both our established ‘drop-off’ locations as well as with our community groups wanting to do a ‘one-time’ food drive. Rachel is always willing to help with suggestions for running a successful food drive and is more than happy to meet with you or your group to share ideas.

Christy Guiliano

Christy Guiliano

Volunteer Coordinator

Christy communicates directly with individuals and organizations seeking to volunteer with Food4Kids. She solicits community involvement and participation to help fulfill our volunteer-run organization’s needs.

© Copyright - Food4Kids Backpack Program of North Florida Contact Us : (352) 514-0281