Blessings in a Backpack Wants to Help Get Kids Fed

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Published on July 17 2013 9:42 pm
Last Updated on July 18 2013 1:45 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

A program known as Blessings in a Backpack is growing worldwide including in the Effingham area.

Blessings in a Backpack is designed to provide food to kids in need on weekends.  Many kids are helped through free or reduced price lunches and breakfasts during the school week.  The problem comes with the weekend, when those meals aren't available for the children.

Under Blessings in a Backpack, a variety of easy-to-prepare foods are given to needy kids on Friday so they have food to tide them over until Monday.  Examples are granola bars, juice boxes, instant macaroni and oatmeal.

Organizers say schools that have the program in place have seen better attendance, higher test scores and improved classroom behavior.  Over half of the students in Effingham Unit 40 qualify for free or reduced price meals.

$80 will feed an elementary school child in Effingham for an entire 38-week school year.  The program organized for Effingham Unit 40 is a volunteer effort, and organizers say 100% of donations go directly to feeding children in Unit 40.  All money donated is tax deductible.

The cost of operating the program will be kept in check by utilization of volunteers to pack the goods each week and by fundraising to cover the purchase costs.

One example of fundraising for Blessings in a Backpack will be seen on Friday as we hold one of our On-Air Auctions with proceeds benefitting the program.  We'll auction off different packages of items throughout the day with the high bidder getting to buy the package.  All of the proceeds will go to Blessings in a Backpack.

The local program coordinators are Jamie Waldhoff, Kelsey Weber and Nikki Jones.  A committee designed to assist the coordinators is made up of Jill Beck, Julie Flack, Mendi Pals and Nancy Marschewski.

By the way, you can also mail in contributions for the program to: Effingham Blessings in a Backpack, PO Box 28, Effingham, IL 62401.  Please make checks payable to Blessings in a Backpack.  You can also contribute online at BlessingsInABackpack.org and please type "Effingham" in the comments section to make sure the donation goes to the Effingham effort.

If you'd like to help pack the food, e-mail: effinghambackpack@yahoo.com

There's more information about the local program on Facebook at Blessings in a Backpack-Effingham IL.