The Origin of Backpack Blessings
In spring 2011, a local church was looking for a way to reach out and help in the Powell Community. During this process the subject of children going without food came up. It was decided to do weekend backpacks for the children that needed them at one of the local elementary schools. The school sent letters to 30 homes; 20 responded that they were interested in participating. With nine weeks remaining in the school year, they decided to give it a try. While the program was very well received, they realized that in order to add more schools, they would need support of other churches. In the fall of 2011 Union Presbyterian Church was consulted and they agreed to partner with them.
Headquarters were moved to the Presbyterian Church, because there was ample space to store the food, materials, and also a work space to use to fill the backpacks. At that time, another elementary school was added and the numbers increased. A member of the Presbyterian church became the director in charge of ordering, getting volunteers, and seeking donations.
Two years ago, the governing body of the church, decided that it would be good to organize a separate board, consisting of up to 10 community-wide members, to plan fund raising, seek grants and donations, and work with the volunteers that fill the bags. Currently the board has members from several churches from the community, but takes no direction from any individual church. Donations and grant monies have increased which we feel is a direct result of the community-wide board which has allowed for greater networking and more contacts to be made.
In September 2019, the board, with the assistance of a local attorney, submitted the paper work for a non-profit corporation and also to become a 501(c)3.
Currently, 120 children from three elementary schools are being served. This number is expected to increase. At the average cost of $7.00 per child, per week, which includes food for six meals, two drinks, and two snacks per weekend, monetary donations and food donations are greatly appreciated.