Children from low-income families may receive free or reduced-price school lunches, ensuring adequate nutrition during school hours (which can include breakfast as well as lunch).
However, some children find food less available at home. Between Friday and Monday, children may miss some or all meals. Lack of reliable access to regular meals is known as food insecurity.
Children experiencing hunger due to inadequate nutrition may suffer from impaired concentration and learning, social and behavioral problems, and even threatened health and development.
51% of Charlotte-Mecklenburg students qualify for free/reduced lunch and are at risk for food insecurity, including 48% of Blythe Elementary and 44% of J. M. Alexander Middle School students.
Generous donors sponsor a child or provide general funds. Volunteers shop for food and supplies.
Partnering with local food banks, grocery stores, and food distributors allows for efficient acquisition of healthy food items and maximizes impact of donated funds.
Volunteers hold "packing parties" where food is packed into bags. Bags include a variety of nutritious breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, and drink items.
Volunteers deliver bags to schools. Backpacks are given discreetly to children on Friday. Children are identified by teachers and counselors for participation in the backpack program.
“Thank you to the people that have helped me with the food backpack. It means a lot to me that you guys have helped me with food and snacks, and, let me say, they were quite delicious!”
- A Blythe Elementary student
“I really appreciate the love and support you guys gave my son. It took away one problem that we face at home.”
- Mother of a Blythe Elementary student
“Anything we can do to support our children - to help them make sure that they're fed, they come to school, they're ready to learn - is a blessing for us.”
- Leora Itzhaki, Principal at Blythe Elementary