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Food insecurity for children results in significant long-term outcomes: malnutrition, poorer health, more missed school days, lack of concentration. Twenty-two million children receive free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program and the National School Breakfast Program (2018), according to Feeding America, a national network of food banks and meal programs. For many of these children, school meals may be the only meals they eat. Although free or reduced breakfast and lunch at school is beneficial, weekends and summers are a sizeable gap in this food safety net.

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Food banks across the country partner with communities, including churches, to address this need by providing backpacks of nutritious food for children during nonschool days. For example, Old Fort Church in Old Fort, Ohio, coordinates with their local elementary school, packing donated backpacks with breakfast, lunch, snack and produce items for weekends. Volunteers stuff the backpacks at the church each Thursday night with food donated or purchased with monetary donations.


Volunteers from St. Mary's Parish gather weekly at the Marysville Food Bank in Marysville, Washington, to prepare backpacks for their school districts' 11 elementary schools. "Because of the weekend meals delivered by the backpack ministry, teachers have reported that those students have shown improved attendance, behavior, grades and participation in class," stated Darlene Fails, who helped start the ministry at the church.


One free resource on starting a backpack program is an online Backpack Program starter toolkit offered by Northwest Harvest at


Feeding America. (2018). BackPack Program. Retrieved from



A recent report, Electronic Skin Patches 2018-2028, is the most comprehensive study on this topic. The electronic skin patch industry was worth $4.8 billion in 2018. These skin patches use electronic components to communicate essential monitoring information to help manage disorders, such as cardiovascular problems or diabetes, through smart technology. The devices typically attach to the skin with an adhesive (IDTechEx, 2018).


Medical sectors account for much of the market, but nonmedical products account for a growing market share. With companies investing at a high rate, emerging applications are the focus for targeting future opportunities and products.


Hibbert continues, "Most skin patch products utilize their location on the body for different kinds of sensing. Temperature sensors in skin patches monitor fever and fertility. Skin patch sensors detect the chemical composition of sweat and different applications, from assessment of athlete hydration through to proposals for detection of potential higher value sensing.... Motion sensing in skin patches enables detailed motion capture input to assess recovery from an injury, efficacy of a certain drug in clinical trial, or technique in sport." (IDTechEx, 2018, para 4)


The Electronic Skin Patches 2018-2028 report can be found at


IDTechEx. (2018). Emerging applications for electronic skin patches. Retrieved from



"In the Christian community, thankfulness is just what it is anywhere else in the Christian life. Only he who gives thanks for little things receives the big things. We prevent God from giving us the great spiritual gifts He has in store for us because we do not give thanks for daily gifts. We think we dare not be satisfied with the small measure of spiritual knowledge, experience, and love that has been given to us, and that we must consistently be looking forward eagerly for the highest good. Then we deplore the fact that we lack the deep certainty, the strong faith, and the rich experience that God has given to others, and we consider this lament to be pious. We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small gifts. How can God entrust great things to one who will not thankfully receive from Him the little things?"-From p. 29, Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 1954, Harper & Row Publishers, New York, NY.


-PulseBeats compiled by Karen Schmidt and Cathy Walker