How It Works

Our Mission:

Blessings in a Backpack mobilizes communities, individuals, and resources to provide food on the weekends for elementary school children across America who might otherwise go hungry.

Our Vision:

For every school-aged child in America having the nourishment needed to learn and grow. As a leader in the movement to end childhood hunger, Blessings in a Backpack strives to ensure children do not go hungry on the weekends by empowering individuals and communities to take action.

Why Do We Do It:

As closures caused by COVID-19 lead to a rise in unemployment and poverty, it is projected that 18 MILLION CHILDREN1 are experiencing food insecurity. That’s one-in-four American children who may be struggling with access to food.

The consequences of hunger are much more than a growling stomach. Poor nutrition can result in a weaker immune system, increased hospitalization, lower IQ, shorter attention spans, and lower academic achievement. Children are fed during the school week by federal government programs. We want to make sure they’re getting nutritious meals over the weekend too.

Blessings in a Backpack is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization feeding 88,900 children  at more than 1,090 schools in 46 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

1 Source: Feeding America

Our Structure:

We are a national organization made up of seven regional chapters and more than 1,000 volunteer-driven programs. We share the goal of preventing childhood hunger on the weekends for the kids who need us most. Click here to find a chapter or program near you.

How Much Does it Cost?

$125 will feed one child on the weekends for one 38-week school year through the Blessings in a Backpack program—the results: nourished kids ready to learn. Food is an essential building block, and in this case, it is truly a blessing, especially to a hungry child!

Visit the Get Involved section of our site to find out the various ways in which you can help Blessings in a Backpack feed more children.

View the most recent IRS Form 990
View our Annual Report 

View our Impact Report

The Beginning of Blessings in a Backpack

Our Impact:

Blessings in a Backpack has partnered with Quaker Oats and Ipsos, a leading global market research company, on a national evaluation project that measures program impact on a deeper level than only bags and pounds of food distributed. This project involved various Blessings’ stakeholders, such as children and teachers, in the evaluation process. Surveys found that, in addition to no longer feeling weekend hunger pangs, children fed by Blessings experience the following impact on their lives:

  • 78% feel cared for by their community.
  • 71% feel that Blessings is helping their family.
  • 60% have fewer behavioral issues.
  • 60% report that their school attendance is better.
  • 59% find it is easier to learn at school

The Facts About Hunger:

What does it mean to be food-insecure?
A food-insecure household has limited or uncertain access to enough food to support a healthy life.

Childhood Hunger in the United States:
Children are more likely to face food insecurity than any other group in the United States. Due to a significant rise in unemployment in 2020, and a corresponding increase in child poverty, it’s projected that 18 million children (one in four) may be struggling with food insecurity. Click here to read an analysis from Feeding America that projects what hunger and food insecurity will look like for kids in the coming months.

Before COVID-19:

  • Three out of four teachers say they have children in their classrooms who regularly come to school hungry.+
  • Three prevalent consequences of hunger in schools: inability to concentrate, poor academic performance, and headaches, and stomach aches.+
  • Nearly half (44%) of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food stamps) are kids.*

+ No Kid Hungry
* Center on Budget and Policy Priorities