FORT MYERS, Fla.- Thursday marked the last Blessings in a Backpack “pack” day of the school year, being held at Colonial Elementary.
Volunteers from Fire Stations #1, #4, and #6 helped pack backpacks with kid-friendly ready-to-eat food for Lee and Collier County elementary aged children who have little to no food to eat on the weekends during the school year.
There is a network of fire stations involved so if one station gets called out, another can step in and take their place to pack so that the children in need will be able to get their backpacks for the weekend.
It took only about an hour for the group to pack about 750 bags of food. The program is offered to all students at Colonial Elementary and school leaders say almost all students take advantage.
Currently, Blessings in a Backpack feeds less than 3,000 Lee and Collier County children, which doesn’t even scratch the surface of the over 77,000 children who experience hunger in the nation. The program is in eight Lee County schools and one in Collier County, but program leaders say it continues to grow.
Executive Director Cecilia St. Arnold says, “we have 29 Title 1 schools, elementary schools in Lee County which means there’s a lot of students that go hungry so what we do is target those schools and feed these students on the weekends breakfast, lunch, snacks and drinks so they back to school Monday and they’re better students so they’re learning on full stomachs and not coming to school hungry.”
A donation of $80 can feed a child for a 38-week school year and is tax deductible.
The organization relies on private donation and 100 percent of the proceeds go towards feeding the children. If you are interested in making a donation, click here.