Updated: Dec 27, 2019
BLESSINGS IN A BACKPACK WHEATON–Over the past couple of years, the elementary school that my children attend has been collecting and packing supplies and food for the Blessings in a Backpack program. Although a national organization, they have volunteers in place to take their efforts locally. The mission of Blessings in a Backpack is to mobilize communities, individuals and resources to provide food on the weekends for elementary school children who might otherwise go hungry. The schools are identified by the number of students they have on the free/reduced lunch program. As we talk about keeping our kids fit and happy throughout this magazine, there are many children who need help with basic meals and supplies, so they can stay successful in school.
Our school has adopted Olney Allen Elementary, one of four schools in Aurora that together have a total of 1,005 children on the free/reduced lunch program that are receiving assistance from Blessings in a Backpack. We collect food and supplies throughout the year and find specific dates to gather student and parent volunteers to pack up the boxes to be transported. “No child should be hungry,” says Catherine Whicker, Blessings in a Backpack Program and Fundraising Coordinator for Olney Allen Elementary.
“We are providing hope for these kids. They feel like someone cares about what happens to them.” Children that participate in the Blessings in a Backpack program experience the following impact in their lives: 59% find it easier to learn in school, 60% do not get in trouble as much, 71% feel they are helping their family, and 60% report better school attendance.
Whicker, who, as a child, lived in a trailer and was on welfare and Medicaid, knows first hand how it feels to be poor and struggle. “It was programs like this that assisted me and made a huge difference in my life.” Blessings in a Backpack is always in need of more volunteers and communities that can adopt a school and support fundraising, get involved in packing events, or pick up and drop off food or supplies. To find out more information about getting involved, you can visit their website at www.blessingsinabackpack.org .
Let’s all work together to not only keep our own kids fit and happy, but also take care of those children that are hungry and in need to help them grow to be strong and successful.
Mindy’s March Giving Inspiration: Compliment the first three people you talk to today.
ABOUT THE WRITER Mindy Kyle is the owner of Be Inspired Studios and is passionate about helping people discover what brings them joy and to live a full, healthy and happy life. She has her Masters in Fine Arts degree in creative writing from DePaul University and lives in Naperville with her husband, three children and the cutest dog in the land.