Backpack Blessings is a 501 C (3) non-profit, formed in December of 2012 for the sole purpose of feeding hungry children in eastern North Carolina. Garber is only one of the 20+area churches who support Backpack Blessings, which serves over 800 students in Craven, Jones, and Pamlico Counties.
Four times a year, Backpack Blessings hosts a “build” at Garber, where 1.5 gallon Ziploc bags are filled with nutritious and filling snacks for children attending school in Craven, Jones, and Pamlico Counties. A typical bag might contain a mac ‘n cheese microwave bowl, 1-2 individual cereal bowls, granola bars, nabs, a fruit cup, a pudding cup, individual sized beanie weenies or pasta, an oatmeal packet, and other items as available at the NC Food Bank. The snacks are chosen by kid-friendliness in packaging and taste, availability, ease of preparation.
Backpack Blessings purchases food by the pound from the NC Food Bank, depending on availability of needed items. Food Lion is also a major source of purchasing, providing discounts and bulk ordering. Over 30 pallets of food are needed for each large build.
The children who receive Backpack Blessings services are designated by their school guidance counselors and the bags of food are discretely given to them each Friday by these counselors. Backpack Blessings serves all elementary and middle schools in these three counties with over 32,000 food bags per year. They also provide food for high school students who attend night school classes when there is no cafeteria service.
Backpack Blessings also serves many of these children with a summer feeding program. Summer Blessings was created because in the summer months the children are away from the safety of the child nutrition programs in their schools. Larger quantities are given to the families, including family sized cereals, pasta/sauce, pancake mix, fresh vegetables and frozen meats, peanut butter and jelly, and canned foods.
The newest program is Holiday Blessings, which provides a turkey or ham, and all the holiday fixings for Christmas, as well as other food items for meals. These boxes help alleviate the stress of food over the holiday break.
If you are interested in getting on board to help feed hungry children in our area, please contact the church office! Our volunteers come in all sizes and all ages!