MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — For more than 40 years, Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee continues to lead the community in the fight to end hunger.

Second Harvest services 18 counties across East Tennessee to have access to nutritious food, and they do this by working alongside over 600 agency partners.

One of their largest programs is the Food For Kids, also known as the backpack program, which addresses the long-standing problem of child hunger in the community. The program was founded more than 20 years ago.

Currently, they are working towards their goal of feeding 13,000 students in thirteen days. This is all a part of their Pack the Bag initiative which will end on Saturday, May 13.

A donation of 100 dollars will provide nutritious food to one student for an entire school year.

Kristi Reynolds, Major Gifts Officer says they have known for decades that teachers across the country routinely purchase food items to give to students they know struggle with food insecurity. However, the scale of the actual need for this additional support was not fully understood when the program began in 2003 at Winfield Elementary in Scott County.

The Food For Kids program began in 2003 at Winfield Elementary in Scott County. 20 years later, Winfield Elementary is now one of 286 schools that provide essential food to every week. Through this program, they serve more than 10 thousand children with nutritious and kid-friendly foods every Friday that will get them through the weekend.

“We know that children who do not get the nutritious food their bodies need have problems learning, growing, and interacting with their teachers and peers,” adds Reynolds.

For more information and get donate, visit their website.