Children that show up to school healthy and well-nourish learn better. They are more likely to attend school and take advantage of educational opportunities. Undernourished children are at a disadvantage from the moment they walk into school. Poor nutrition increases fatigue, shortens attention span, and decreases work capacity. Food insecure children tend to be absent more often because of illnesses. The Blessings in a Backpack addresses the problem of hunger for food insecure school-age children.
At any given time over one in four children cannot access food consistently and have to reduce food intake, eat poor diets and often go without any food. While it seems unlikely that children in Michigan would go to bed hungry on weekends, in reality, between 5% and 90% of the children in school districts are food insecure.
The Blessings in a Backpack program helps those families meet their nutritional needs on weekends when the students don’t have access to the meals they receive at school.
A backpack is sent home each Friday, with a qualifying student, filled with food and returned on Monday to be refilled for the following Friday. Each backpack contains several pounds of foods such as tuna, chicken, macaroni and cheese, fruit juices, pastas, oatmeal, fruit bars, and soup. The food is provided at reduced costs through special arrangements with the Meijer grocery chain. If Meijer’s does not service a local community, then arrangements are made with other community providers.
For as little as $3.81 we are able fill a backpack for a child to take home on Friday. A donation of $155 will provide weekend food for a child for the entire school year.
With the help of groups of concerned community leaders, philanthropic and business partners, caring citizens and you, Blessings in a Backpack has become a driving force against childhood hunger in the United States. See how you can make a difference in the lives of so many of our neighborhood children.