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Kan. students get record number of food backpacks

Published on -5/20/2013, 6:49 AM

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WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- The Kansas Food Bank has given out a record number of its backpacks full of food to students this year.

The highest number of backpacks handed out this year to school children in need was 7,158 during one week in February, said Larry Gunkel, a Food Bank official running the program. He said the Food Bank handed out nearly that many last week.

Those are the two highest weekly figures recorded since the program began 2004, Gunkel said.

The Wichita Eagle reported (http://bit.ly/ZYKVg1 ) the food packages are part of the organization's Food 4 Kids program. The program gives students identified by school staff as chronically hungry a backpack of food each Friday.

School officials have told the Food Bank for years that some of their students often don't get anything to eat outside of school breakfasts and lunches.

Gunkel said the number of schools in Kansas now served by the program has grown from 369 schools last year to 400. He said schools in Wichita, Chanute, Coffeyville, Independence, Haven, Junction City, Pittsburg and Syracuse have all requested the weekend food packages.

May 17 is the last distribution of food packets before students begin summer break on May 22. Gunkel said the Food Bank is working on ways to get food to chronically hungry children during the summer months.

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