Backpack Nutrition Program 


Hands On Hartford’s Backpack Nutrition Program is designed to help alleviate the hunger of children in Hartford by providing them with easy to prepare, child-friendly foods to bring home.

Why is the Backpack Nutrition Program Important

The children we serve receive breakfast and lunch at school but go hungry on the weekends. As the rest of us enter the weekend looking forward to rest and relaxation – maybe going out to a nice dinner – these children face the anxiety and despair of knowing there will not be enough to eat.


The program was started in 2006 and now distributes backpacks with food to approximately 275 children a week. Children receive a backpack containing 3 - 4 pounds of food each Friday afternoon. They return the backpacks on Monday morning to be cleaned and re-stocked for the following Friday’s distribution. Backpacks contain a variety of ready-to-eat or easy-to prepare items for snacks and meals.

Food is provided by Foodshare, local churches or other organizations that run item-specific food drives, and MANNA purchases.

How You Can Help

The best way to make a donation to MANNA is as a group. It is easy to get started and Hands On Hartford Volunteer Coordinators are available to help you every step of the way.

Whether you serve on a team, as part of a congregation or civic group, we help you come together to recognize and overcome the most essential of Hartford’s needs.

When you make the commitment to organize a food drive, Hands On Hartford will provide you with useful information. We help you spread the word and gather support for your efforts so that you can make the most impact on the community.

The Backpack Nutrtion Program Wishlist

The following items are constantly in need at the Backpack Program:

  • Juice boxes
  • Granola bars
  • Individual apple sauce
  • Individual trail-mix
  • Individual cheese and crackers
  • Instant oatmeal packets
  • Individual fruit cups
  • Individual rasins
  • Individual soups
  • Cereal
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Other Individual Snacks

If you would like to make an item donation to the program, please contact us at (860)-728-3201 x 2001. Donations can be dropped off at 1 Buckingham St. Hartford CT, 06106.