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. Financial partnership with area churches and businessesallows Backpack Blessings to help students in our area who experience food insecurity in their homes.
Four times a year, Backpack Blessings hosts a “build” 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 ____ pallets of food are needed for each large build.
The children who receive BPB services are designated by their school guidance counselors and the bags of food are discretely given to them each Friday by these counselors. BPB serves all elementary and middle schools in these three counties with over 12,000 food bags per semester. 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 the 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 hopefully help alleviate the stress of food over the holiday break.