How It Works
Blessings in a Backpack mobilizes communities, individuals, and resources to provide food on the weekends for school-aged children across America who might otherwise go hungry.
Every school-aged child in America has the nourishment needed to learn and grow. As a leader in the movement to end childhood hunger, Blessings in a Backpack strives to ensure children do not go hungry on the weekends by empowering individuals and communities to take action.
Why Do We Do It:
Did you know that 9 MILLION CHILDREN* are experiencing food insecurity? That’s one in eight American children who may be struggling with access to food.
The consequences of hunger are much more than a growling stomach. Poor nutrition can result in a weaker immune system, increased hospitalization, lower IQ, shorter attention spans, and lower academic achievement. Children are fed during the school week by federal government programs. We want to make sure they’re getting nutritional meals over the weekend, too.
Blessings in a Backpack is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. During the 2021–2022 school year, we distributed nearly 3.2 million bags of ready-to-eat food to children at 1,118 schools in 46 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
Since 2009, Blessings in a Backpack has provided 26.7 million hunger-free weekends (or ready-to-eat food) for more than 927,000 children nationwide.
We are a national organization made up of eight regional chapters and more than 1,100 volunteer-driven programs. We share the goal of preventing childhood hunger on the weekends for the kids who need us most. Click here to find a chapter or program near you.
How Much Does it Cost?
On average, $150 will feed one child on the weekends for one 38-week school year through the Blessings in a Backpack program—the results: nourished kids ready to learn. Food is an essential building block, and in this case, it is truly a blessing, especially to a hungry child!
Visit the Get Involved section of our site to find out the various ways in which you can help Blessings in a Backpack feed more children.
The Beginning of Blessings in a Backpack
Blessings in a Backpack is more than food. We’ve helped kids all over the country overcome challenges, thrive in the present, and look towards a brighter future.
Blessings in a Backpack has partnered with Quaker Oats and Ipsos+, a leading global market research company, on a national evaluation project that measures program impact on a deeper level than bags and pounds of food distributed. This project involved various Blessings’ stakeholders, such as children and teachers, in the evaluation process. Surveys found that, in addition to no longer feeling weekend hunger pangs, children fed by Blessings experience the following impact on their lives:
- 78% feel cared for by their community
- 71% feel they are helping their family
- 70% say their attendance at school is better
- 69% say it is easier to learn
- 67% say their family is happier
- 62% say they are hungry less often
- 60% have fewer behavioral issues at school
+results from 2015/2021 Ipsos surveys
The Facts About Hunger:
What does it mean to be food-insecure?
A food-insecure household has limited or uncertain access to enough food to support a healthy life.
Childhood Hunger in the United States
Children are more likely to face food insecurity than any other group in the United States. Children were food insecure at times during 2021 in 6.2% of U.S. households with children — that’s 2.3 million households.
- According to the USDA, more than 34 million people, including 9 million children, in the United States are food insecure.
- 100% of surveyed pediatricians agree or strongly agree that food insecurity contributes to poor health outcomes among children. —Food Research & Action Center
- More than 66% of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or food stamps) participants are in families with children. —Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
- Three out of five teachers say they have children in their classrooms who regularly come to school hungry. More than half of teachers (53%) say they purchase food for hungry kids in their classrooms. —No Kid Hungry