LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - It's no secret, times are tough, and tough times often lead to sacrifices.
Robert and Nicole Lee of Lafayette said they are are all to familiar with sacrifices.
"There would be a lot of nights that me and Nikki wouldn't eat," said Robert. "We would feed the children first. It's been a little rough sometimes, you know, like every family out there has some rough times."
Yet, that all changed when Robert and Nicole said they discovered a program that changed their lives forever: Food Finder's Backpack Food Program.
"Since we've been on this program, our grocery bill has lasted a little bit longer and we're at least able to grab something to eat," said Robert.
"We don't know how we're going to get to the end of the month to buy our next round of groceries," said Nicole. "This really has helped us a lot."
The Lee family has four boys, two of which are in elementary school and qualify for the backpack food program.
The program is really quite simple. Every Friday, the student is sent home with a backpack filled with items such as canned fruits and vegetables, boxed mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and more.
During the holidays, children are sent home with a little extra.
"Holidays, they send us food boxes home to help us get through the two weeks," said Nicole.
Food Finder's Food Bank Executive Director Katy Bunder said the Lee family isn't the only family in Tippecanoe County to reap the benefits from this program.
"We have backpack programs in every school in Tippecanoe County in the elementary grades," said Bunder. "We have 3,775 backpacks per week."
Bunder said that's more than 7,000 kids the food bank helps feed, both physically, and mentally.
"Their ability to learn, and their emotional well-being is affected by hunger," said Bunder. "So, it's really important for the community to come together to feed these children."
If you would like to donate to the Backpack food program, Bunder said they are always accepting donations at the food bank.
While food donations are accepted, Bunder said they order food in bulk for the program, and therefore, monetary donations are preferred, as it allows them to feed more children.
One day, the Lee family said they can give back to those children.
"We could use any help we can get," said Nicole. "As soon as we get back on our feet, we plan to give back to the backpack program, because of the generosity of so many others."
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