Our Story

How Blessings in a Backpack Got Started

Let’s dive into the heartwarming story of our mission.

It all started in 2005 when Missy Hammerstrom, a kind-hearted individual in Louisville, Kentucky, volunteered at an elementary school. While eating lunch with the students, a little girl asked for Missy’s apple. When Missy asked, “Why?” the girl said she wanted to take it home for the weekend because she didn’t have enough to eat.

This touching moment inspired Missy to take action.

She cleared out her garage, bought backpacks, filled them with food, and donated them to the school. She fed 30 children that very weekend.

And Blessings in a Backpack was born.

From that humble beginning, Blessings in a Backpack has grown into a nationally recognized 501(c)(3) charitable organization, providing food to thousands of children across the country every weekend during the school year. What’s truly remarkable is that this incredible work is carried out by thousands of dedicated volunteers, just like Missy envisioned.

Missy Hammerstrom

Missy Hammerstrom

Though Missy is no longer with us, her legacy lives on through the continued efforts of Blessings in a Backpack.

In a beautiful tribute, her family joined the organization in packing and distributing over 400 bags of food at Engelhard Elementary in Louisville. Their commitment was honored with a special proclamation from the mayor, declaring September 29, 2018, “Melissa Hammerstrom Day.”

Every Friday, as kids head home with their backpacks filled with food, Missy’s spirit of compassion and generosity shines brightly. Blessings in a Backpack is a true testament to the power of one person’s kindness and the ripple effect it can create.

Watch: One Little Apple Started Something Big