Gifts to Our Community: Blessings in a Backpack
A blessing can be offered in many ways. Sometimes it even shows up in a backpack. Blessings in a Backpack provides food for school children who may have little or no food to eat over the weekend when school isn’t in session. This national non-profit program began in Louisville by one woman who saw the need for change and took action.
“It started with an apple and someone who cared,” says BiB’s Managing Director Kim Holsclaw. When Missy Hammerstrom sat down to eat lunch at a local elementary school, a young girl approached her to ask, “Can I have your apple?” Missy gave it freely only to find that the girl didn’t want it for today’s lunch but to save for later that weekend. “That night Missy went out and bought backpacks and food and took them back to the school,” Kim says.
Now, 14 years later, Blessings in a Backpack feeds 5,000 children in 48 Louisville schools. “Attendance is up on Friday when the students receive their Blessings,” says Kim. “They don’t want to miss it.” The students who depend on the federal free and reduced meal program at their school qualify for the Blessings’ meals.
Blessings in a Backpack is truly a blessing for those kids who might sometimes go 65 hours without being fed. This is why Blessings is seeking to expand its efforts. “Our goal is to feed every child who needs it,” Kim says, and that means reaching out to the over 64,000 children who qualify.
Blessings in a Backpack will continue working with its volunteers and partners to keep Louisville’s youth nourished, but its efforts extend beyond that. “We’re ensuring that our future leaders stay bright by giving them a bag of food so they can continue to learn.”
P.S. Did you know you can give back by adopting a furry friend this season?