The Feed and Read (FAR) Program

The HATAS Albany Feed and Read program is a weekend backpack program that strives to fill the gaps between when students can receive meals at school—over the weekend. New for the 2017-2018 school year, each student will receive a book with his or her backpack.

FAR Feeds Hungry Kids and Hungry Minds

The Feed and Read (FAR) Program (formerly the Albany Weekend Backpack program) is a HATAS program that provides critical support to hungry children in an effort 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 Albany Feed and Read 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 started with just 14 packs of food. Now, with support from the community, HATAS provides 625 children with food, and a book, for the weekends of the 2017-2018 school year.

Our goal is to prevent the third-graders we give weekend backpacks to from visiting us again in 20 years.

That means offering more than just food.

Absenteeism Hurts A Child’s Chances of Success

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. This compounded with instability, violence, or other challenges in the home can be disastrous for a child’s chances of success.

That’s why every FAR weekend backpack doesn’t just include food for hungry children within our community—we also include 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’re in this together.

We see compassion in the Capital Region on a daily basis, 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 have received year over year.

Now it’s your turn.

An annual commitment of $299 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:

  • Approx. 12 lbs. of food per week
  • One gallon of milk per week
  • One new, age-appropriate book per week
  • EVERY week of school

The HATAS Albany FAR program has helped low income and high-risk students see higher test scoresbetter 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 each and every student in our community: there is nothing stopping you from going FAR in Albany.

Support FAR Today

Donate Today

Do you want to make an even bigger impact?
Contact us to learn about the volunteer opportunities that help neighbors and strengthen our community.


The Albany Feed and Read Program

This program is funded entirely through support from our community. We would like to recognize and thank our compassionate and supportive sponsors.