Kids Weekend Backpack Program

Feeding kids and making a long-term impact

68 hours. That’s how long a child in an underserved community may go without food over a weekend.

Many kids in the schools we serve struggle to eat between school lunch on Friday and breakfast on Monday. Our flagship program takes rescued food and turns it into nutritious frozen meals that are delivered directly to kids in need. Meals are delivered to schools where they are sent home with food-insecure children to fill that 68 hour gap. These kids return to school on Monday ready to focus on learning because the basic need of food has been taken care of!

What’s in the Meals?

Nutritious Food, Generosity and the Goodness of Others

Each lunch and dinner includes a protein, starch and a fresh or frozen (never canned) vegetable.

Each breakfast includes a protein, starch and fruit.

Every child receives a backpack including two breakfasts and four lunches/dinners that can be easily microwaved when the child is hungry.

Each meal is packaged by volunteers at Cultivate (over 967,255 to date).

The food in these meals is rescued from some of the best chefs in the community!

Cultivate safely rescues this excess food from collegiate athletic events, school and university cafeterias, catered events, and restaurants and repurposes it into backpack meals.

By the numbers

Key Statistics and Metrics

The Bad:

Children eligible for free and reduced lunch in our three counties

Children are living in poverty across these three counties

Billion pounds of food wasted in the United States annually

The Good:

Students are now supported by Cultivate

Frozen meals are provided weekly

Distributed backpack meals in 2022

School Partners

  • Argos Community School
  • Bremen Community Schools
  • Concord Community Schools
  • Elkhart Community Schools
  • Goshen Community Schools
  • LaVille Elementary School
  • Marshall-Starke County Head Start
  • Michael's Catholic School
  • Paramount School of Excellence
  • Plymouth Community Schools
  • South Bend Community Schools
  • Success and Career Academies
  • Wa-Nee Community Schools

*Don’t see your school on this list or want to know how to enroll a child in the program?
Contact your school’s administration or contact us here.


Thank you for the frozen meals. My granddaughter uses them to easily fix herself a good nutritious meal. It is a wonderful program to use excess food, and to serve good meals for the students at their homes on the weekends. Thank you!



Thank you so much for working with the Wa-Née Community schools and Cultivate to provide my 3 children with 5 delicious meals each weekend during the covid pandemic while the schools were closed.  It meant the world to our family to know that each Friday there would be 3 backpacks delivered to our front porch full of delicious and nutritious meals. I’m not sure how we could have done it without you. We can’t thank you enough to you and the volunteers that made this all possible.

Backpack Family at Wa-Nee Community Schools

The Cultivate meals are easy for me to grab after school, and just as easy for me to make at home for a meal.  When our family is busy, it is easy for me to fix a good and healthy meal without having to go out and get something.  There are many great meals to choose from. My favorite is the oatmeal with sausage.  Thank you for making a variety of foods for families in our area to enjoy.



Cultivate has been an incredible blessing for our school. It’s hard to concentrate, behave and perform while hungry! Cultivate has removed barriers for our students in need. Each week, 35-40 of our students receive 6 high quality meals to take home with them. Our families are grateful for the extra support in this particularly difficult time.

Hope Amor

Principal at LaVille Elementary School

Volunteer with Cultivate today!