Weld Food Bank and Beef Sticks for Backpacks Partnership Works to Feed Kids in Northern Colorado

Beef Sticks waiting to get packed into backpack at Subaru's Annual Share the Love Event with Kidspak. Photo credits - Dan Byers.

Steven Bonifazi

Weld Food Bank and non-profit organization Beef Sticks for Backpacks are distributing roughly 4,500 nutritious beef sticks every week in a partnership that is aimed at fighting childhood hunger.

The partnership between Weld Food Bank and Beef Sticks for Backpacks began in December of last year in order to enable children across Northern Colorado who are in need to receive high-quality protein through backpack programs such as the Weld Food Bank Backpack Program. Beef Sticks for Backpacks was formed by members of the Colorado agriculture community.

“Having Weld Food Bank as a key partner allows us to support more backpack programs and ultimately feed more kids,” said Dan Byers, director for Beef Sticks for Backpacks. “Their partnership has been really awesome because they come every week to pick up the sticks, they have their own backpack program and have also helped us get connected with Food Bank of the Rockies to get connected with the rest of the state,” Dan said.

A group of volunteers from the National Western Stock Show joined BSFB to help pack beef sticks into backpacks at the Weld County Food Bank. Photo credits – Dan Byers.

Weld Food Bank is currently serving as the distribution partner for Beef Sticks for Backpacks providing beef sticks for backpack programs such as McBackpack in Fort Collins, Kidspak in Loveland and the Weld Food Bank Backpack program in Greeley. Nearly 53,000 beef sticks have been distributed this year to kids throughout the state.

Requests for backpacks has increased since March of last year but more recently has remained flat due to logistical issues backpack programs are facing regarding getting the beef sticks to kids as schools are not in regular session right now due to the COVID-19 program. Dan expects the need for backpacks to increase once all children are back in school in regular sessions.

“We are now serving more hungry children than ever in the history of Weld Food Bank,” said Bob O’ Connor, CEO, Weld Food Bank. “We are unbelievably grateful for the partnership with Beef Sticks for Backpacks, which ensures that every child will have protein over the weekend,” Bob said.

Hunger has become more prevalent nation-wide throughout last year including in states such as Colorado where thousands of children are food insecure. The need for backpack programs that provide food for kids during the weekends who might not have a meal otherwise however quality protein is generally lacking.

Student workers at Colorado State University operating new packaging equipment donated by Mulivac to help increase production of beef sticks for Beef Sticks For Backpacks. Photo credits – Dan Byers.

Beef Sticks for Backpacks partners with Colorado State University (CSU) to manufacture the beef sticks. The CSU Meat Science Lab at the JBS Global Food Innovation Center has played an essential role in ensuring beef sticks can be produced safely and efficiently.

Weld Food Bank and Beef Sticks for Backpacks are hoping that this partnership will continue for years to come so that they may continue to feed children in need.

“Weld Food Bank have been willing to help us figure out a partnership for years to come,” said Dan. “We see it continuing for the foreseeable future,” Dan said.

For more information regarding Beef Sticks for Backpacks, visit: www.beefsticks.org and watch the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEyCBqzDP90&t=26s or to view their Facebook page, visit: www.facebook.com/BeefSticksforBackpacks


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