The Central Coast McDonald’s announced Monday that the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California to fund its BackPack Program.

The goal of the Foodbank’s BackPack Program is to provide weekend meals to children who do not have a reliable food source and are at high risk for malnutrition.

Every Thursday, hundreds of backpacks are filled with ready-to-eat, nutritious foods such as peanut butter, fresh fruit, cans of pop-top tuna fish and other easy-to-prepare meals. On Fridays, the assembled backpacks, which contain six healthy meals for the weekend, are delivered to children at partnering organizations.

“Ronald McDonald House Charities of South California’s investment in the BackPack Program will make a difference in the lives of more than 1,000 children,” said Erik Talkin, Foodbank executive director. “We are grateful for their support and dedication to creating a community where children in need are nourished. Our community is strengthened by this partnership.”

Each year, the RMHCSC Community Grants are awarded to nonprofit organizations throughout Southern California that are committed to improving the lives of children, and this year, Community Grants totaled $537,700. Since its inception in 1987, the RMHCSC’s Community Grants Board has awarded more than 700 grants totaling more than $15 million to organizations in Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to support the Santa Barbara Foodbank through the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California’s Community Grants program,” said David Peterson, owner/operator of McDonald’s in Santa Barbara and Goleta. “The Foodbank’s work directly benefits the well-being of children in our community.”

— Jessica Trumble represents Central Coast McDonald’s.