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 13 MILLION CHILDREN are experiencing food insecurity? That’s one in six 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 2020/21 school year, we distributed 2.2 million bags of ready-to-eat food to children at more than 1,090 schools in 46 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
Since 2009, Blessings in a Backpack has provided 23.5 million hunger-free weekends (aka bags of ready-to-eat food) for more than 838,000 children nationwide.
We are a national organization made up of seven regional chapters and more than 1,000 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?
$130 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 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% of kids feel cared for by their community.
- 71% of kids feel that Blessings is helping their family.
- 60% of kids have fewer behavioral issues.
- 60% of children report that their school attendance is better.
- 59% find it is easier to learn at school
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. Due to a significant rise in unemployment in 2020, and a corresponding increase in child poverty, it’s projected that 18 million children (one in four) may be struggling with food insecurity. Click here to read an analysis from Feeding America that projects what hunger and food insecurity will look like for kids in the coming months.
- Before COVID-19
Three out of four teachers say they have children in their classrooms who regularly come to school hungry.+
- Three prevalent consequences of hunger in schools: inability to concentrate, poor academic performance, and headaches, and stomach aches.+
- Nearly half (44%) of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food stamps) are kids.**
+No Kid Hungry
**Center on Budget and Policy Priorities