So kids won’t go hungry on weekends

November 23, 2013 

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    • Address: Blessings in a Backpack Bank Lockbox, P.O. Box 95029, Louisville, KY 40295

    • Phone number: (800) 872-4366 national phone number; (209) 545-1250 local coordinators Jeff and Britta Foster

    • Web site:

    • How we help those in need:

    We provide weekend nourishment to children who receive food while at school through programs like the Federal Free and Reduced Meal Program. Oftentimes, these kids go without enough food during the weekend. We provide a bag of shelf-stable food (macaroni and cheese, oatmeal, soup, raisins, etc.) that they take home Friday afternoon to help them make it to Monday morning. Students who participate in the Blessings in a Backpack program show marked improvement in school attendance, test scores, behavior and health.

    • Individuals and/or families assisted per month:

    Right now we serve three schools: Woodrow Elementary, Hickman Elementary and Sylvan Elementary. We have close to 400 kids we feed each week and it is always growing. We would like to add an additional 900-plus kids, but that would require $72,000 a year in additional funding. We serve students from kindergarten through sixth grade.

    • How a $10 donation helps:

    It costs $80 a year to feed a child for the 38 weeks in the school year. That works out to about $2.10 a week, so a $10 donation would fee one child for just over four weeks.

    • $25 donation:

    Would feed one child for just over 11 weeks.

    • $50 donation:

    Would feed one child for just over 23 weeks.

    • $100 donation:

    Would feed one child for the entire year and an additional nine weeks.

    • Volunteer update:

    Right now students of Big Valley Christian School pack all of our food at the campus. As we add more schools, we might need additional help with packing or delivering food. If you are interested, contact Britta Foster at (209) 545-1250.

    • One last thing:

    All donations go through the main Blessings in a Backpack office, where an account is kept for us and tax letters are provided to all donors. Checks should be made to Blessings in a Backpack with Modesto in the memo or somewhere on the check. None of the money raised will be used for administrative fees. One hundred percent of the money is used to buy food for the children.

The idea behind Blessings in a Backpack is pretty simple: The program provides food to families whose children are on a free or reduced-fee meal program to extend the help into the weekends.

A family might get a bag with granola bars, peanut butter, tuna, cereal and macaroni and cheese.

What the community gets back, ideally, is well-fed students who don’t have to worry each weekend about what they are going to eat, and who return to school on Monday focused and ready to learn.

According to the national program’s website, students who participate in Blessings in a Backpack show marked improvement in school attendance, test scores, behavior and health.

A local chapter of the program recently started and serves more than 400 children in three schools. Representatives said they would like to add an additional 900 children.

All money donated goes toward food, not administrative costs.

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