By Brittany Henderson Syracuse, N.Y. (NCC News)— Blessings in a Backpack is a nonprofit organization that feeds children across the U.S. who are fed through the Free and Reduced Meal Program but risk being hungry on the weekends.
Charlie Brown, lay Delegate of Bellevue Methodist Church, and his wife Jeanie Brown brought the program to Syracuse just a year ago and started it at Delaware Elementary.
“What grabbed our attention is seeing how much poverty there is in Syracuse, and we were really flabbergasted that every student at Syracuse City School District gets a free lunch. There’s that much poverty and there’s nothing for these kids over the weekend,” said Brown.
The number of students being fed in Syracuse jumped from 200 to nearly 350 after the Syracuse City School District expanded the program to Seymour, Franklin, and Dr. King Elementary.
According to Food and Nutrition Director Rachel Murphy, since the expansion the program has received an overwhelming amount of support from the community. As a result, the school district received enough donations to feed even more children.
Typically, the program’s process is selecting 50 students per school for an entire year. Murphy says due to the great amount of donations, the process will be different for Dr. King Elementary.
“We decided to have 50 students identified week to week, different children, so that we can reach all of the children throughout the whole school year,” says Murphy.
More donations can be made by going to the Blessings in a Backpack website and donating to Syracuse City School District.