Building Trust and Feeding Success

Building Trust and Feeding Success

Santa Ana, California

What builds a healthy environment for children to succeed?

According to Kristen Crowe, it’s trust. Kristin is the chief community officer for Scholarship Prep Charter Schools in Santa Ana, California. She makes key connections to partners in California that allow Scholarship Prep to provide comprehensive support services for its students, many of whom are experiencing homelessness or in the foster care system. Their trauma-informed approach prioritizes the well-being of children, providing access to mental health and physical resources families need to thrive.

So why are there pink totes lining the school walls?

The totes contain non-perishable food that students eat on the weekends when school is closed, and there’s no school breakfast or lunch. The bags are packed by corporate volunteers in the area—and it’s all arranged by Blessings in a Backpack. Our organization partnered with Scholarship Prep in early 2020 to provide prepacked food to kids during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the relationship grew from there.

Scholarship Prep quickly saw the impact of the prepacks and began pursuing other avenues to feed kids in need. They connected with our food partner Optimum to provide snacks and other resources on “take as needed, no judgment” rainbow carts in classrooms.

These carts helped staff identify students and families experiencing food insecurity, who then were asked if they’d like to join the Blessings program. As the benefits of this program grew, so did demand.

An unexpected but appreciated gift came in the form of additional deliveries because of Blessings in a Backpack employee packing events. Corporate volunteers pack the food offsite and donate it to the school. Kristin says the delivery timing was “seemingly perfect,” arriving right when students were near a long break or extended weekend.

Blessings organized even more opportunities—six this school year—for companies to pack weekend food for the students at Scholarship Prep. The school served 250 kids every weekend of the 2022–2023 school year, and they plan to feed 125 over the summer break.

Kristin shared that as families hear about Blessings and see the bright pink bins lining the walls, they get excited and want to participate.

This encourages others to do the same and increases the chances that Scholarship Prep will be aware of the total demand and, thus, prepared to meet it.

Scholarship Prep is “incredibly grateful” for its partnership with Blessings in a Backpack and how the food makes students feel safe to receive resources discreetly while maintaining their dignity. “It’s an incredible vehicle to grow relationships with your families and build trust,” Kristin said.

The walls are filled with more than just bins; they’re stacked with the security and safety that only a community that cares for each other can provide.