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Feeding the Future of Southwest Florida

We mobilize communities, individuals, and resources to provide food on the weekends.

What we do differently from other organizations: Blessings in a Backpack of SWFL has been dedicated to making sure over 5300 children in Lee and Collier counties have food every Friday to get them through the weekend. Blessings in a Backpack supplements the free breakfast and lunch program that the children receive during the school week. On Fridays children in our program receive two breakfasts and two lunches with drinks. This way when they return to school on Monday, they will be ready to learn on full stomach. Presently in Lee County alone, we could feed close to 40,000 children weekend meals during the school year. An additional $25,000 would enable us to add 217 more children to our feeding when school starts up again in August. $25,000 would provide these children a total of 32,984 meals during the school year 21/22.

Providing 32,984 meals to food-insecure children this next school year would impact their lives tremendously. Our program has simple and wonderful outcomes. We have shown in schools where children are receiving our program, that they do better in school. Children receive their food on Fridays which is normally the highest day of the week for absenteeism and our absentee rates go down with our students. They want their food on Friday, so they are in school. We also find that children are less of a behavior problem in school if they fed and nourished, they concentrate better and thus learn more. We survey each program, three times a year and on the following outcomes: student performance since receiving the program, absentee rates of children, behavior outcomes of children in our program.

The outcomes of children receiving our program are huge. These children who are receiving good nutritional food have a much better chance of developing strong healthy brains and bodies. We track during the school year a matrix that our program coordinators collect at our schools. This data helps us show the impact of the food over the weekend. This includes discipline, absentee rates, and several other factors.