How It Works

Our Mission:

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

Our Vision:

Every school-aged child in America has 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:

Did you know that 13.4 MILLION CHILDREN* are experiencing food insecurity? That’s one in five 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 nutritional meals over the weekend, too.

Blessings in a Backpack is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. During the 2022–2023 school year, we distributed more than 3.3 million bags of ready-to-eat food to children at 1,270 schools in 46 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

Since 2009, Blessings in a Backpack has provided 30 million hunger-free weekends for more than 1 million children nationwide. 

*USDA, Economic Research Service, 2022

Our Structure:

We are a national organization made up of seven regional chapters and more than 1,200 community-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?

On average, $175* 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.

Click here for the most recent Form 990.
Click here for the most recent Audited Financials.
Click here for the full Fiscal Year Annual Report.

Click here for our Impact Report.

*As we all know, the challenging economic climate continues. Rising food prices, gas, transportation costs, supply chain issues, and inflation have dramatically impacted the expense of feeding children on the weekends. The sad reality is that egg prices have doubled while cereal, meat, and bread have risen nearly 25% since 2021, according to the US Department of Agriculture. The result is that we need support now more than ever. For the upcoming school year, we have negotiated pricing to $175 per child or $4.66 every school-year weekend; pricing will remain fixed for the next two years.

The Beginning of Blessings in a Backpack

Our Impact:

Blessings in a Backpack is more than food. We’ve helped kids all over the country overcome challenges, thrive in the present, and look towards a brighter future.

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 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 they are helping their family
  • 70% say their attendance at school is better
  • 69% say it is easier to learn
  • 67% say their family is happier
  • 62% say they are hungry less often
  • 60% have fewer behavioral issues at school

+results from 2015/2021 Ipsos surveys

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*

  • 13.4 million American children face food insecurity. That is one in five.
  • 17 million of U.S. households were food insecure at some time during 2022.
  • Household food insecurity affected 6.4 million of households with children in 2022.
  • 44.2 million people in the United States are food insecure.
  • 100% of counties in the U.S. have food insecurity.
  • 16% of Black households face hunger, compared to 13% of Latino households and 6% of white households.

*Source: USDA, Economic Research Service, 2022