News

LPS BackPack Walk raises record funds for children

Shari Styskal, the director of Budget at LPS - and the woman who has coordinated the walk for the past 10 years.

Lincoln Public Schools employees raised a record $186,000 this year - and still counting - as well as $1.5 million over the past decade to support the community's children through the annual BackPack Extra Mile Walk, held this year on Saturday at Lincoln East High School.

"I know that my cupboards are full, but I also know we have so many children in our school district who go home to empty cupboards," said Shari Styskal, the director of Budget at LPS - and the woman who has coordinated the walk for the past 10 years.   "This is our way of helping those children - and one way our employees can support their own community." 

The fundraiser helps support the Food Bank of Lincoln’s generous BackPack initiative, which provides a weekly Friday backpack filled with food for students who need help in having enough to eat over the weekend.

Styskal explained there are two major goals for the annual walk: 

  • Educating our community about the needs of children at Lincoln Public Schools 
  • Raising money for this valuable program 

Top school efforts

  • Top elementary school: Maxey
  • Top middle school: Lux
  • Top high school: East

Winners for the Garner challenge in order: 

  • 1 McPhee
  • 2 Northeast High School
  • 3 Schoo
  • 4 Irving
  • 5 Hartley
  • 6 West Lincoln
  • 7 Lefler
  • 8 Kooser
  • 9 Lakeview
  • 10 Meadow Lane
 

Please help us spread the word about this valuable program. 

  • Origin: The Food Bank of Lincoln launched the BackPack Program during the 2004-2005 school year at Clinton Elementary School, sending home food-filled backpacks on Friday afternoons with 50 kids. 
  • Simple concept: Children are our most important and valuable assets, and research shows that healthy, well-nourished children are much better learners. During the week, our students who qualify for free and reduced lunches are provided nutritious breakfasts and lunches at school. In fact, for some students, the school's breakfast and lunch are their only meals of the day.  But during the weekend this can create a food crisis for these children and their families: a weekend can be a long time to go without food.
  • Current numbers:  2,291 LPS elementary students at 32 LPS schools received weekly food-filled backpacks first semester, and hundreds of older students received food through monthly school markets at the middle and high school level.
  • Price tag: It costs about $250 for each student to receive a backpack for a year.  This includes all essential program costs involved with distributing BackPacks. 
  • Need grows:  The need continues to grow dramatically: 
  • This school year 18,014 of Lincoln Public Schools students—46 percent of all Lincoln Public Schools students (K-12)—qualify for free and reduced lunch. There are 5,535 of the 7,826 elementary school children who qualify for free lunch not receiving backpacks.
  • Children who live in poverty face tougher odds for achievement than do other children.
  • Children who live in poverty for at least half their childhoods are 90 percent more likely to leave high school without a diploma and four times more likely to be an unwed teen parent when compared with people who were never poor as a child.


Published: April 29, 2017, Updated: June 5, 2017

"I know that my cupboards are full, but I also know we have so many children in our school district who go home to empty cupboards."

Shari Styskal, the director of Budget

Gallery