Feeding the need in Southwest Florida
All funds raised by Blessings in a Backpack of Lee County STAY in lee County. In Southwest Florida, Blessings in a Backpack started at Tice Elementary where 98% of students rely on Federal Food Assistance programs. National Blessings in a Backpack founder Stan Curtis launched the program in Lee County on March 3, 2009 with the help of celebrity spokesperson Hilary Duff and Fort Myers residents. We do not have paid staff; all of our work is done through a volunteer board led by Scott Fischer (Scott Fischer Enterprises) and his friends Austin Shanfelter, Dana Vidussi, John Nicholson and John Toggweiler. We have now doubled our size adding Edgewood Academy and with your help we are currently feeding over 1000 students right here is Southwest Florida.
The Lee County Chapter of Blessings in a Backpack is hard at work funding the next two years of the program.
THE BLESSINGS IN A BACKPACK PROGRAM
Blessings in a Backpack is a 501C (3) non-profit organization. This unique program is designed to provide weekend nourishment to children grades K-5 in Title 1 schools who qualify for the Federal Free and Reduced Meal Program. The program started within the Jefferson County Schools area in Louisville, Kentucky in 2005. Stan Curtis, the program founder, saw a need to help nourish the less fortunate children in our public school system, so that they could learn at the same rate as their classmates. By providing them with food over the weekend, it would increase the odds of educational success. Blessings in a Backpack started with three elementary schools in Kentucky and now serves over 50 schools across the nation.
Food is distributed through a network of volunteers and school officials on Fridays before the children leave for the weekend. The program serves children grades K-5 within Title 1 Elementary Public Schools. All students served are recipients of the national Free and Reduced Meal/Lunch program. Most of our recipients are in a household with a single parent or with parents who are classified as working poor, those individuals who are employed but don’t earn enough to make ends meet.
Our weekend backpacks include ready to eat food items: Fruit Roll Ups, Pop Tarts, Lemonade and other drink mix packs, Instant Noodles, Peanut Butter, Macaroni and Cheese, Rice, Beans, Granola, Pasta, Instant Potatoes, Dry Cereal, etc. All food choices are kid friendly. This means the food distributed is healthy, light in weight and easy for children of all ages to carry, easy to make, and non-perishable. We rely on private donors such as you to purchase this food, as well as supermarkets which give us a substantial discount.
A donation of just $80.00 feeds a child for an entire school year. Contributions are tax-deductible and qualify for a tax credit for food pantries and other food programs.