The Backpack Program

Inner City Youth Ministry is committed to addressing food insecurity, improving literacy, and building healthy resilient families and communities. 

During the summer months, when school is not in session, many of the school-related supports available to children and families are unavailable. Inner City Youth Ministry responded to this gap with the creation of The Backpack Program.

The Backpack Program is a free program for families with children in elementary school in Saint John. During the summer months, registered families receive a weekly kit containing ingredients to make an included pictorial recipe, snack items, a children’s book and community resource information. 

When families are provided with healthy, kid-friendly, simple recipes we address food insecurity by building skills, contributing to resilient families and communities. Participants have shared that they spend more time cooking with their children and try new and healthy foods more frequently as a result of the Backpack Program. Our recipes are specifically designed to ensure they are accessible to those with literacy barriers, limited or new cooking skills, and use only basic kitchen equipment. 

We believe that when kids have access to age/ reading level appropriate books and guardians are encouraged and equipped to spend time reading and discussing the books, we can help to reduce the “summer slide”. The summer slide, a well-studied phenomenon that results in upwards of a 20% loss of school year gains in reading over summer vacation, disproportionately affects impacts, kids, from low-income families.

Become A Supporter

Are you interested in supporting our work and being involved in the Backpack Program? All of our programming is made possible through the generosity of our community: generosity of time, talent and resources. 

We are looking for volunteers willing to assist in purchasing and preparation of the kits. Our volunteers look forward to working with a fun and tight-knit group, and to knowing they are making a real difference in the lives of children throughout our community. Our volunteers come from a wide variety of backgrounds, ages and interests and we work to find roles suited for the skills, interests and schedules of each volunteer.