Organization Name: Alfond Youth Center

Program Name: Summer Weekend Backpacks

Program Contact: Jared McCannell, Grants Manager
Email:     Phone: (207) 873-0684

UWMM has funded this program for 0 years.

Amount Requested: $3600
Is this an increase from what your program received for the current funding cycle? 
Did not receive funding from UWMM for this year

Twenty-five word summary of this program’s purpose:

AYC’s Supplemental Nutrition Weekend Backpack Program eliminates social and economic barriers to families accessing nutritious food to help break the cycle of poverty.

How your program is uniquely important to the community:

Although summer food programs exist in the area (supported by government and private funding) typically “Backpack Programs” fall outside of the funding initiatives currently available to AYC. USDA’s Summer Food Service Program offers reimbursement for meals served on site. Private funding from “Full Plates Full Potential” also supports meals service. Finally, the YMCA offers funding for meals and related activities–but not backpack for programs. 

Unfortunately food insecurity goes far beyond individual meals served to youth during the weekdays. Families are often left with tough choices regarding their finances when they are presented with having to pay bills, buy nutritious food and how to stretch their budgets to make ends meet. AYC’s Supplemental Nutrition Weekend Backpack Program eliminates social and economic barriers to families accessing nutritious food to help break the cycle of poverty.

We receive generous donations of fresh produce and nonperishable items which will be used to fill the backpacks during the summer months. After learning that many families were no able to use the produce because they did not know how to prepare it was an issue we identified and solved in two ways. We recently have been sending home recipes on how to utilize the produce being sent home (so the food does not go to waste). We are also expanding our “Kids Kitchen” and “Teaching Kitchen” program to demonstrate how to cook with the ingredients being sent home.

Typically a backpack will include enough food for a family of 4 for the whole weekend (2-3 meals depending on serving size per day). They include a protein sources, whole grains, vegetables (fresh and canned) and several healthy snacks.  We also include information about services provide at AYC as well as information about utilizing the food products in the backpacks. One direct link to financial stability that we can associate with the Supplemental Nutrition Weekend Backpack Program  is a new family nutrition budget tool we are developing to help families look at food costs on a monthly basis and work it into their family budget. The same tool can be used to introduce budgeting technique and strategies for the entire family budget. 

The economic impact on the community is remarkable. Less food waste in the community, more informed consumers, fewer hungry families and numerous wellness services promoted all through AYC’s Supplemental Nutrition Weekend Backpack Program.

Program Updates

Since last report (or in past two years):

The Supplemental Nutrition Weekend Backpack Program has run for about 4 years–during the school year only–at Alfond Youth Center. The biggest change in the program from previous years is that we are now budgeting to operate for the summer months when the program historically was not running. 

Expected in the coming year:

This year we will be increasing the amount of fresh produce in every backpack! Fresh produce from generous donations from area Hannaford stores as well  fresh produce grown by youth participants in our “Youth Garden” program will be included in the backpacks this summer. Most backpack programs do not include fresh produce because of the difficulty with managing freshness. Our model allows for fresh produce either donated that day or harvested that week to be included on top of the nonperishable items we already include. 

Outcome your program most contributes to:
Financial Stability: All Mid-Mainers have access to resources and training to secure opportunities to be financially stable.

How program contributes:
Increases capacity/resources for direct services, Advocates for financial stability

Define your year: April 1- March 31

How much did we do? 200 (Total number served)

How well did we do it?

Performance measure: Percent of clients who access more than one service type
Most recent year’s data: 100%
Previous year’s data: 100%

What was the difference made?

Performance measure: Percent of clients demonstrating improved self-reliance
Most recent year’s data: 0%
Previous year’s data: 90%

Action Plan

Objectives for current year:

Our planned objectives are to first, extend the program into the summer months of July and August. We anticipate similar numbers needed to fulfill this goal as we do during the school year based on camp and childcare program numbers. 

Our second objective of the year is to offer the service to more families (including our preschool program which currently is not eligible for the program under the traditional model). On several occasions we have had requests from families that have children in preschool but do not participate in the Afterschool or Summer Enrichment Programs (yet). We know that these families are also in need of the service. 

The final objective of this program expansion is to use the backpacks as a way to promote other services offered here at Alfond Youth Center as well as community services (i.e. financial independence resources, etc.). We have sent home messages about events, activities and even recipes for the food sent home with great success. We know that this channel can be utilized to get important info about resources out to the community.  

Objectives and results from last year:Success Stories

Although we do not have any quotes available at this time, the anecdotal responses we have received from parents and children alike has been heartwarming. When asked for “success stories” the program staff said they have had numerous parents thank them for the service. Without having to stress about nutritional concerns during the weekend (and over the summer this year) take a huge burden off of families and allows for more attention to be given to other financial concerns. Participating  youth are not shy about sharing their excitement about the backpacks and often open them up right at the center when they receive them see “what’s for dinner” this weekend. 

Previous Year Actual Income and Expenditures

Government Funding UWMM Funding Other UWs Funding Fees/Dues Funding Other Sources Funding Total Income
0 0 0 0 27000 27000

Total Actual Expenditures: $27000

Current Year Budgeted Income and Expenditures

Government Funding UWMM Funding Other UWs Funding Fees/Dues Funding Other Sources Funding Total Income
0 3600 0 0 27000 30600

Total Budgeted Expenditures: $30600

Anything remarkable about your program’s budget:

Our current budget is based on program projections based on previous years. This is the first year we are attempting to offer this crucial service in the months of July and August. The $3600 requested would cover the bare minimum expenses to run the program for those two months. 

What else you’d like reviewers to know:

Although this program has always fallen slightly outside of our main mission focused programs and services, it has quickly become one of the most important services we offer. More and more families inquire about the service (many of whom have said they “never would have thought they needed the help” and come to us humbled as they are not accustomed to asking for assistance). The trusted relationships we have forged with community members allows us to be a safe and dependable resource for families trying to break out of the cycle of poverty. By expanding this program through the summer we will be able to track the impact over the whole year and eventually be able to produce more specific and meaningful data (hard data like program numbers and soft data such as testimonials) about how important this program is to the region’s ability to break the cycle of poverty for so many families. 


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