Our Children’s Programs

Childhood hunger is a devastating condition that pervades our community. At many of our schools, more than 80% of children rely on Free and Reduced Meals programs to get the nutrition they need. Unfortunately, these programs can only reach kids when they are at school. The Children’s Programs supplement Free and Reduce Meals by operating during times when children at not at school. By operating different service models during various parts of the year, we can provide kids with the food they need to be happy, healthy, and successful.

USDA Non-Discrimination Statement for Child Nutrition Programs


In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.


Program information may be made available in languages other than English. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language), should contact the responsible state or local agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at  800-877-8339.


To file a program discrimination complaint, a Complainant should complete Form AD-3027, USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form(link is external), from any USDA office, by calling 866-632-9992 or by writing a letter addressed to USDA. The letter must contain the complainant’s name, address, telephone number, and a written description of the alleged discriminatory action in sufficient detail to inform the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (ASCR) about the nature and date of an alleged civil rights violation.


The completed AD-3027 form or letter must be submitted to USDA by:


    1. Mail:
      U.S. Department of Agriculture 
      Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 
      1400 Independence Avenue, SW 
      Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; or
    2. Fax:833-256-1665 or 202-690-7442; or
    3. Email: USDA Program Intake(link is external)


This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

The Backpack Program

The first Children’s Program, the Backpack Program, began in 2008 serving 50 children each weekend at McCarver Elementary in Tacoma. This program now serves more than 1,500 children each weekend at dozens of schools in Tacoma, Lakewood, and Puyallup. We are also providing more than 2,000 snacks weekly for after-school programs and to children who need a midday snack. The backpack provides two days of food so children can come to school on Monday well-fed and ready to learn. Our bags include dinner meals, lunch, and breakfast items along with fresh fruits for increased nutrition.

Summer Meals

Summer Meals offers crucial nutrition for children during the summer, one of the hardest times for struggling families. Each weekday during the summer, we deliver healthy lunches to over 250 children at apartment complexes and community centers in Tacoma and Lakewood. The typical lunch that children receive in this program includes a wholewheat turkey wrap with cheese, lettuce, and cucumbers, homemade Lunchables, and healthy sandwiches. All lunches are served with Fresh Summer Fruit, healthy snacks, and milk.



Break Bags

An extension of our Backpack Program, this partnership with the Emergency Food Network provides even more food for 2,000 families in Pierce County schools during the longer Thanksgiving, winter, and spring breaks.

After School and Mid-Day Snacks

We also provide more than 2,000 snacks weekly to schools for after-school programs and children who need a midday snack.


Interested in Receiving Food?

The Backpack Program, Break Bags Program, and After School Snacks work with school teachers, counselors, and administrators to get food to children. Please contact your school if you are interested in receiving food assistance. Summer Meals partners with locations throughout the county to deliver lunches and will post our locations above during the summer.

Need Help?

If you’re one of our school partners, please fill out the form below to request help or changes to your current support. We’ll do our best to help.

Who to Contact

We have a number of staff who make this program possible. Visit our team page to find the staff member who best fits your needs.