A Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, Maintenance Evaluation of Weekend Backpack Food Assistance Programs


Carmen Byker Shanks, Samantha Harden


American Journal of Health Promotion


PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate an ongoing statewide weekend backpack program through the Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, and Maintenance (RE-AIM) framework. DESIGN: Mixed-methods inquiry was used to explore the reach, effectiveness, adoption, implementation, and maintenance of backpack programs within Montana. SETTING: Study participants completed audio-recorded one-on-one phone interviews. PARTICIPANTS: Key informants (e.g., managers at food banks, staff at participating schools, policy makers) were purposively sampled (N = 20). METHOD: Semistructured interviews were conducted to gather data to describe each RE-AIM dimension. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and deductively (i.e., using RE-AIM as themes) coded for meaning units, placed into higher-order categories, and summarized in narrative. Supporting quantitative data (e.g., the proportion of eligible students that joined the program, rate of school-level adoption) were calculated using descriptive statistics. RESULTS: Backpack programs with a broad reach and evidenced effect may be appealing to adopt. Weekend food bags cost an average $3.87 (SD ± .94) and there were some positive (i.e., ease, protecting participants' privacy) and very few negative (logistical) components of implementation. Collaborators and community partners are necessary for long-term sustainability. CONCLUSION: Backpack programs are widespread and have potential to relieve weekend hunger; however, more efforts need to be made to end childhood hunger. 2016 by American Journal of Health Promotion, Inc.



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