Nemours Children’s Health, Blessings in a Backpack Address Food Insecurity in Orlando Schools
Story by Nikki DeMarco, WFTV.com
Nemours Children’s Health has partnered with the Blessings in a Backpack Orlando Chapter, a non-profit organization that addresses food insecurity for Central Florida students.
The partnership will ensure students enrolled in the free-lunch program will have nutritious foods on the weekends and during holiday breaks.
Nemours Children’s has committed to providing food to eligible students at Boggy Creek Elementary in Osceola County, Winegard Elementary in Orange County, and Layer Elementary in Seminole County through the end of the school year.
On Saturday, January 14, volunteers spent the morning at Boggy Creek Elementary bagging food for children to take home for the weekend. The packing event took place just ahead of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, an official day of service, and celebrates the civil rights leader’s life and legacy.
“Nemours Children’s Health is proud to expand our partnership with Blessings in a Backpack to be able to address a critical need for students in our area,” said Martha McGill, senior vice president and CAO, Nemours Children’s Hospital, Florida. “Food insecurity is one of the most important factors that can impact a child’s health. We hope by expanding our partnership with Blessings in a Backpack that more children will have better opportunities to enhance their health.”
Between Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties alone, roughly 72% of students are on the free or reduced lunch program.
“It’s estimated that one in every five children in Central Florida leaves school on a Friday afternoon and doesn’t have food again until they return to school on Monday morning, so we fill that 65-hour weekend meal gap to make sure that kids have the nutrition that they need so that they can show up to school Monday morning nourished and ready to learn,” said Sarah Carlson, managing director, Blessings in a Backpack.