Story via tempeschools.org
The Playmakers Luncheon is a community engagement piece of the NFL Annual Meeting held at the Biltmore Fashion Park in Phoenix. This event welcomes family and friends of NFL coaches and owners to learn about positive outreach happening in their community as well as information on how they can become involved.
Morse was asked to speak about Nevitt’s long partnership with Blessings in a Backpack, a non-profit organization that feeds school children in the United States who currently are fed during the week on the federally funded Free-and-Reduced Meal Program and are at risk of going hungry on the weekends. Blessings in a Backpack has supported Nevitt students since 2009.
Thanks to a recent partnership between Blessings in a Backpack and the NFL, Nevitt Elementary also received 1,000 backpacks full of food to distribute among students and their families.
Out of 870 children that are fed in Nevitt Elementary’s cafeteria each week, only 86 of those students pay for lunch, Morse explained. The majority of Nevitt students rely on the Free-and-Reduced Meal Program for healthy and nutritious meals at school.
On weekends and holidays when access to food might be uncertain, programs like Blessings in a Backpack give students food they can rely on for themselves as well as share among their family members. Each week, enough food for 500 children is delivered home in backpacks.
“Children have often reported that their last meal is in the school cafeteria on Friday until they return for breakfast on Monday,” said Morse. “What you are doing today means the difference in a child going hungry all weekend or coming to school fed and more prepared to learn.”
Because Nevitt believes in getting all students involved to help one another, students in the school’s Special Education Self-Contained program help each week by unpacking crates of food, developing an assembly line, calling students to the cafeteria, and stuffing their backpacks with food provided by Blessings in a Backpack to get them through the weekend.
“When kids don’t have to worry about what they are going to eat or being hungry, they can focus on what is truly going to end this cycle of poverty…their education!” said Morse.
After Morse’s presentation, attendees from the NFL Annual Meeting helped pack 1,000 backpacks full of food to take back to Nevitt Elementary. Nevitt students prepared for this event by writing individual thank you notes to members of the NFL and Blessings in a Backpack.
“I am here to say thank you on behalf of Nevitt Elementary School for your service and for getting involved in a program truly for kids,” Morse said to event attendees. “I encourage you to continue in your hometown. The need is great and the support is appreciated.”