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Beef for Backpacks: A Wyoming Solution to a Wyoming Challenge

Updated: Nov 9, 2023


Photo credit: Carolyn Gordon

Fact: Growing kids need healthy protein.


Every cell in the body is made of protein, which makes this major nutrient essential for healthy growth and development. If kids don't get enough, it can lead to a variety of negative outcomes as they age.


Fact: 1,100 is the number of bags Cheyenne's Friday Food Bag Foundation packs weekly to provide weekend food options for local children who might not otherwise have access to food away from school.


As a pilot program in 2023, Beef for Backpacks was launched to utilize Wyoming resources to support the work of programs that make a real impact for children. 18,700 beef sticks were distributed during the pilot period in Laramie County. Wyoming Hunger Initiative's partnership with 307 Meat Company, Wyoming Stock Growers Association, and Wyoming Beef Council to provide high-quality, locally raised protein in a portable form is a Wyoming solution to hunger.


After a successful pilot, Beef for Backpacks was expanded statewide to meet the need of weekend food programs in almost every county in Wyoming. This map was developed to showcase the number of beef needed from every county to meet the number of beef sticks required to provide one beef stick per child every weekend throughout the 2023-2024 school year.



So many people came together to make Beef for Backpacks possible in the first year. 307 Meat Company in Laramie has and continues to do all of the processing of the beef donated to this program. Wyoming Stock Growers Association seeks out beef donations to the program through their network. Wyoming Beef Council and Multivac provide all of the labeling for these snack sticks. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming, John P. Ellbogen Foundation, Northrop Grumman, Jonah Bank of Wyoming, Albertsons-Safeway, FunBiz Concessions, Farm Credit Services, and the Catholic Diocese came together to fund this incredible opportunity to get local, high-quality protein in the hands of children across Wyoming.


Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming at a Friday Food Bag Foundation bag filling (Photo credit: Gary Gwin Photography)

Kelcey Christensen and his family from 307 Meat Company (Photo credit: Gary Gwin Photography)

Kendall Roberts and her family donated beef to Beef for Backpacks (Photo credit: Gary Gwin Photography)

The Northrop Grumman Team helped fill bags recently (Photo credit: Gary Gwin Photography)

The Jonah Bank of Wyoming team who has been on board since day 1 (Photo credit: Gary Gwin Photography)

The Harding Ranch has donated multiple beef for Beef for Backpacks (Photo credit: Gary Gwin Photography)

The fabulous Friday Food Bag volunteers who are committed to getting food to children in Laramie County (Photo credit: Gary Gwin Photography)

The Lincoln County School District Education Foundation serves 50 children per weekend during the school year (Photo credit: Carolyn Gordon)

Fact: 1 beef translates into 2,880 snack stick packages that can serve 80 kids for 36 weeks.


Fact: 5,485 kids are being served through weekend food bag programs around the state which equates to 205,467 snack sticks needed to complete the 2023-2024 school year.


Fact: You can help. Consider donating a beef to Wyoming Hunger Initiative for Beef for Backpacks today!

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