Blessings in a Backpack
Mission: Blessings in a Backpack (“Blessings”) is a national non-profit organization whose mission is to provide food on the weekends for elementary-aged school children who might otherwise go hungry. More than 90,000 children in Duval County are at risk of hunger. Side effects of hungry children include inability to concentrate, poor academic performance, headaches and stomachaches. While children in need are fed during the school week by federal programs, Blessings strives to make sure that their nutritional needs are met over the weekends too, so that they return to school on Mondays ready to learn.
Facts: The Cathedral has had a Blessings team in place since 2016. In past years, we’ve supported Hendricks Avenue Elementary and more recently, West Riverside Elementary. Last year, we provided over 14,000 meals (2 breakfast, 2 entrees, 2 healthy snacks) to approximately 100 children in need at West Riverside Elementary. We also provided coloring books and crayons at Christmas, as well as a summer reading book.
Volunteer Opportunities: Blessings volunteers typically gather once a week during the school year for 1-2 hours to pack food for the weekend. Volunteers also work behind the scenes to plan meals, purchase food, write encouraging notes for the children and work with the school to coordinate distribution of the food to children. It is a wonderful feeling to know that we have helped to feed and encourage little ones in need!