Blessings in a Backpack

By March 21, 2012General

Today I am stepping a bit out of my creative zone to share with you something else that is close to my heart.  A charity you may or may not be familiar with, Blessings in a Backpack.

A few facts that I found shocking…

3 out of 5 U.S. Public School  children qualify for the free or reduced lunch program.

60% of American children depend on the government to feed them Monday through Friday.  That equates to more than 20 million kids.

The end result of statistics like this is millions and millions of children go hungry on weekends.  As the video above states, many of them know when the final bell rings on Friday afternoon, they will not eat again until Monday morning.  

Blessings-in-a-Backpack
Blessings in a Backpack provides elementary school children who are on the federal Free and Reduced Price Meal Program with a backpack of food to take home for 38 weekends during the school year. Backpack food includes easy-to-prepare, ready-to-eat foods, like granola bars, juice boxes, mac and cheese, and oatmeal.

Help

  • A donation of a mere $80 will feed one hungry child in the U.S. every weekend for an entire school year.  100% of your donation goes directly to feeding the children.  You can donate directly HERE.
  • You can adopt a school and start a program in your area if one doesn't already exist.  You can read all the details about doing so HERE.
  • Become a volunteer to help fill backpacks on Fridays for these hungry children in need by finding a local school that participates in this program HERE.
  • Coordinate a fundraiser at your church, with your scouts or other civic organization to contribute to the cause or possibly partner with a local school as a permanent sponsor.

I hope that this cause possibly touches your heart as much as it has mine.  Sometimes we forget all to easily how much need there is right here within our own country.  Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share this with you today.

Childs-letter

Nichole Heady

Author Nichole Heady

More posts by Nichole Heady

Join the discussion 24 Comments

  • 1

    That’s a lot of children. I’m glad lots of them have supportive people to help them.
    Eveline.

  • 2
    Beth says:

    I had never heard of this program, and had no idea there were children who didn’t eat all weekend. Thanks for sharing this information and wonderful opportunity.

  • 3
    Sara says:

    Thanks for reminding me to count my blessings. I have donated via the link you gave. How could I not.

  • 4
    Joyce says:

    I have heard of this organization, and agree its such a great cause!
    Thanks for sharing.

  • 5
    Marybeth L. says:

    Thanks for sharing. I have heard of this from…..guess who……. The girl who sells SU products . …. Stampers are good people! It’s a great cause! It’s wonderful that you posted this on your blog ,Nichole!

  • 6
    Toni Storie says:

    I work in a school and we have a local church that provides food for children over the weekend. They started with backpacks and now deliver large fruit boxes full of food for our needy families.

  • 7
    Connie Fisher says:

    We do this through our local foodbank in SE Idaho. It is a great program. It is so sad to think that so many children are going hungry.

  • 8

    Wow, thank you for sharing this. This is something that has always tugged on my heart, and I’m glad to know this organization is making a difference.

  • 9
    Chris P in Burnsville, MN says:

    We have a similar program in our city that is coordinated by our high school kids! They do most of the work themselves with oversight by a faculty member. It is incredible that so many children in our country go hungry.

  • 10
    Maggie says:

    The local United Way assists in funding a program like this in my area. Currently, it does not cover all the elementary schools, but hopefully, there will be additional funding in the future.

    There are also other programs to assist hungry children. In some areas, meals are provided for children via USDA programs during the summer school break, free of charge. If you know someone who might benefit from this, they can call the National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY or 1-877-8-HAMBRE to find out if there is a free summer meal site near them.

  • 11
    Shelly K says:

    We have the program here in Colorado…everyone needs to ask how they can make a difference…I have LOTS to be Thankful for – for sure!
    Thanks for sharing Nichole and making people aware.

  • 12
    GinaE says:

    Such a worthy charity. Arkansas Rice Depot does something similar to this and our office is happy to be one of their corporate sponsors. That children (or that anyone) in the US goes hungry is enough to rip my heart out!

  • 13
    Karli says:

    Thank you soooo much for sharing this! I’m a teacher & the elementary school I worked in has nearly 80% free/reduced lunch so I know the statistics. I saw them everyday. I will pass this info along to my principal since this is something that is desperately needed by many of the kids we teach.

  • 14
    Lynne Phelps says:

    My church (perryumc.org) has a similar program called Snax Sax. We send grocery bags full of food home for 80 children in the local elementary we’ve adopted, and we are trying to get other area churches to adopt other local schools.

    The teachers say that it has made a huge difference because children don’t learn when they are hungry. You need to meet a child’s basic needs first. The have seen a huge uptake in performance on Monday because the children have eaten over the weekend. It is a lot of work but so rewarding.

  • 15
    Wanda McGhee says:

    Thanks for stepping out of your comfort zone. We have a similar program at the hospital I work at. We call it “Backpack for Kids”! We collection non-perishable food items and donate them to this program for the schools in our community. It is very successful and our over 750 employees play a big part in this program. Much thought and love goes into collecting these items. We do it quarterly and even the more during the holiday seasons. We are so blessed to have such compassionate and caring employees. Hats off to all who have similar programs!!! God sees and He is smiling on all of us!!!

  • 16

    Thank you so much for bringing attention to our program! It is wonderful people like you, spreading the message, that helps us feed hungry children! Have a wonderful week!

    Nikki G.
    Blessings in a Backpack

  • 17
    Nadine says:

    HI Nichole, I follow your blog for a long time and I choose one of your cards for our lift challenge blog. If you like to see what the design team and participant made based on your beautiful example, check out:
    http://liftchallenge.blogspot.com/2012/03/liftchallenge-12.html.

    Thanks for all of your inpiration! Love your work!

  • 18

    In our area the program is called “Backpack Buddies” and my Girl Scout troop did a Caroling Food Drive over the holidays to fill backpacks for the school break. It is a wonderful program, but so sad we need them.

    Thanks for bringing so much attention to it!
    Victoria

  • 19
    Cindy Coutts says:

    Thank you for sharing this with us Nichole to give us the opportunity to bless others. Real life is not about stamping. It’s a fun hobby that the hundreds of people who respond to your “regular” posts in hopes to win a prize have the $80 as a minimum order. I’m glad you shared this with us. My PTI order might be a few stamp sets short but a child will be able to eat. That’s a no-brainer. Thank you for the link to find a local volunteer center as well. I’m getting out of the stamp room more often and doing a lot of community service work and that is so fulfilling and personally rewarding.

  • 20
    Heidi S says:

    Thank you for sharing this today. I had never heard of this organization. I teach in a school district with a very high number of students that come to school so hungry. You can’t imagine what Monday morning breakfast is like. The other day one of my first grade boys was eating so fast that he choked. He hardly paused to regain his breath. Thank you for bringing this to light and for sharing the links.

  • 21
    Ann Alyea says:

    We have several programs like this in our community now. The one I participate in is at the school I taught at for forty years. As a teacher that worried about many students over the weekends and holidays for all of those years because they often were hungry all of that time, I just want to encourage others to help out where they can. I don’t think there is a more worthy endeavor out there. I know what it is like to face those hungry children on a Monday morning. Very heartbreaking.

  • 22
    Charlene says:

    This is a wonderful program as are the many more out there and worthy of our donations.

    I’m wondering if the bigger problem needs to be addressed of parents not parenting and taking repsonsibility for the lives they’ve brought into this world.

  • 23
    mindy says:

    Although I know that the needs are great for food and for stocking the food pantry’s in the US, I think that not all of the facts come to light. Yes, 3 out of 5 children qualify for free/reduced lunch. Part of the reason is that only 1% of the applications are screened to verify whether or not the candidate is actually needy or not. It is NOT is the schools best interest to screen out all of the children who get free or reduced lunch. The higher the number of students who qualify, the more money the school will receive in other funding as well. It has become an abused program that should be more closely monitored so that those who are truly in need get the funds, and those who don’t are not allowed to continue to take advantage of the tax payers. I also know of children on the program who have money to go to WDW, India, and other locals on vacation. If they have the money for this, why am I buying them lunch everyday? I’m not traveling like they are, and the checks and balances of the program have gone astray. If someone is needing a hand, I am ALL for helping them, and happy to do so. What upsets me is when it has become a way of life, rather than just something to help. Sorry to rant. I work in the food industry, know people in school systems, and I am sorry to see what has happened to a good program. It’s time for a change.

  • 24
    Bernd says:

    That’s a beautiful thing. And it’s only 80$ a YEAR to feed a child during the term? I’m gonna do that.

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