Cuts to a Tigard school program could leave kids without food

Cuts to a Tigard school program could leave kids without food

TIGARD, Ore. – Some children could go hungry on the weekends if Tigard city leaders cut a program designed to provide meals to disadvantaged kids.

The Tigard Community Backpack Program is on the chopping block as part of a series of proposed budget cuts. The program was established in November through the Tigard Police Department and Tigard Youth Association.

The program got its name because volunteers fill backpacks with food and meals, like soup and pasta, for underprivileged elementary school children to take home over the weekend.

“A lot of times, they go home and there's no food for them on the weekend,” said Lindsey Pratt, a Durham School Counselor. “This is meant to supplement Saturday and Sunday.”

According to the program’s organizer, Charlie Sandbo, who works with the Tigard Police Department, the backpacks are currently handed out at nearly every elementary school in Tigard, supplying food to between 150 to 175 of students.

“I worry about what will happen when that's no longer available,” said Pratt.

Even though volunteers provide most of the labor, the food still costs about five-hundred dollars a month for every 20 students. That’s about $4 thousand a month.

Another expense is Sandbo's salary. Most of the program’s funding goes toward that. Due to the cuts, he will lose his job in a few weeks.

“Budget cuts are tough,” he said. “It's tough for the people who have to make them. It's tough for the people getting cut.”
The program’s coordinator, Joyce Sanders, hopes to continue running the program with the help of volunteers and donations.

To make a donation to The Tigard Community Backpack Program, go to this link.

“You have to keep it going somehow,” she said. “That's something we're really looking into through all these cuts.”