Child Hunger Outreach Partners (CHOP) began in Bradford County, Pennsylvania in January of 2019 serving 45 students at a local school with the backpack program. It was formed as a response to the founder’s daughter coming home from school distraught that students at the high school level didn’t have lunch to eat. The backpack program provides children with a bag of food consisting of a minimum of two dinners, two breakfasts, two servings of fruit, and 5-10 healthy snacks. It is intended to be enough to keep their bellies full over the weekend, and each student in the family is welcome to participate.
Since that time, CHOP has expanded rapidly and now has robust programs in nine counties in Pennsylvania and one county in Maryland. They hand out thousands of bags of food every weekend to students of any income bracket and in the 2022-23 school year anticipate serving 50,000 students weekly. A current expansion project will add an additional 11 Pennsylvania counties, creating a service area that stretches across the entire northern half of the state.
In mid-2019, it was noted that high school level students were less likely to participate in the backpack program. From this realization, they launched their in-school pantry program. Housing the same items as the backpack program, but in a stigma-free grab and go setting, CHOP successfully began reaching an older demographic. Currently, CHOP has 22 in-school pantries serving nearly 15,000 students daily and estimates they will serve closer to 100,000 students in the 2022-23 school year.