Feeding Hungry Tummies in Our Community
In 2012, our VP of Operations, Kristin West, came upon a charity called Blessings in a Backpack, featured in People Magazine as Charity of the Year in 2012. "I immediately thought, 'now here's a great opportunity for our residents to get involved in a meaningful activity that not only gives them a sense of purpose, but also helps children right in our neighborhood.' I thought Kemper House Strongsville would be a great location to pilot the program." After some planning and preparation, Kemper House Strongsville launched with neighboring Drake Elementary School in January 2013.
Junk & Gems Giant Three Day Yard Sale to benefit Blessings in a Backpack & Drake Elementary!
What is Blessings in a Backpack? How does it work? Blessings in a Backpack is a “neighbor-helping-neighbor” program that is designed to help meet the nutritional needs of children and families. Each week, volunteers like Kemper House, in cooperation with school officials, distribute backpacks filled with enough non-perishable food for the weekend (six meals) to “at-risk” students.
These students are participants in the government subsidized free or reduced fee hot lunch program. Students that are receiving free or reduced fee lunch at school are from families in every neighborhood who, for various reasons, have income at or below the poverty level. The goal of the Blessings in a Backpack program is to keep these students from going hungry on the weekends and remove barriers to academic success. Believe it or not, nearly 200 children at Drake Elementary School in Strongsville could qualify for this program.
How you can help. Kemper House residents are packing the bags each week. We need your help to purchase the non-perishable food items! Just $80 feeds one at-risk student for an entire school year! You can donate at our GoFundMe site - either set up a one-time or recurring donation.
If $80 is not possible at this time, you might consider setting up a smaller, recurring donation of $5/month. That's the cost of one designer coffee drink! Not only are you helping hungry children, you generous gift supports a project of increasing importance to our residents at Kemper House!
You'll note on our GoFundMe site that we have an ambitious goal of raising $10,000. That's because we have made a three-year commitment to this program and the kids at Drake Elementary. Kemper House has already raised funds through tax-deductible donations, and we have some FUNdraisers in the works, but we have a long way to go! You can also donate directly, at blessingsinabackpack.org. Just be sure to designate your donation to Kemper House/Drake Elementary.
"What about other Kemper House communities?" We are looking forward to bringing this program to other Kemper Houses and surrounding communities in the near future. "There are a lot of logistics and kinks to work out, and we are doing that now at Kemper House in Strongsville. I can't wait to bring this opportunity to other Kemper House residents and, in turn, help other at-risk kids," says West.