The Feed and Read (FAR) Program (formerly the Albany Weekend Backpack program) is a HATAS program that provides critical support to hungry children to reduce absenteeism and keep developing children in school and on track.
The number of children within the Albany School System who live in food insecure homes is heartbreaking.
Throughout the week, assistance programs ensure that students can get balanced nutrition while they are at school—but what about the weekend? The FAR program is the answer to that question.
Founded in 2014, the FAR program is a community-wide response to hunger in the Albany School System. In the first year, the FAR program distributed just 14 packs of food. Now, with support from the community, HATAS will provide approximately 550 children with food for the weekends of the 2020/21 school year.
Our goal is to prevent the third-graders we give weekend backpacks to from revisiting us in 20 years.
That means offering more than just food.
Children want to learn. They are hardwired for it. But missing school can have a snowball effect, especially at earlier grade levels. If children miss the fundamental building blocks of their education, it is easy to become discouraged. Absenteeism compounded with instability, violence, or other challenges in the home can be disastrous for a child’s chances of success.
That’s why every backpack doesn’t just include food for hungry bodies; it also includes an age-appropriate book for hungry minds. We know that the more we can do to stimulate the natural curiosity of children while keeping them learning and engaged can reduce absenteeism.
We see compassion in the Capital Region daily, and it is no surprise that the HATAS FAR program is one of our most popular with the generous members of our community. The number of children that we help has only been growing, and that is thanks to the tremendous support we receive year after year.
Now it’s your turn.
An annual commitment of $330 ensures that our critical work can not only continue, but continue to grow. Your commitment today means that one more child in our community receives:
The HATAS Albany FAR program has helped low-income and high-risk students see higher test scores, better classroom behavior, and decreased absenteeism. Not to mention the confidence that comes with consistent nutrition and the feeling of being able to face school on Monday prepared.
Join us in our commitment to tell every student in our community: nothing is stopping you from going FAR in Albany.
Do you want to make an even bigger impact?
Contact us to learn about the volunteer opportunities that help neighbors and strengthen our community.
This program is funded entirely through support from our community. We would like to recognize and thank our compassionate and supportive sponsors.