How we Became Longwood Blessings
The National School Lunch Act was signed by President Harry Truman in 1946. Research shows that participation in school lunch program reduces food insecurity, improves dietary intake, positively impacts health and obesity rates, and by meeting children’s nutritional needs leads to a better learning environment. This program is successful in bringing positive outcomes during the week but what do these children eat on the weekend? Unfortunately, for many, the answer is very little. Children come back to school Monday hungry and NOT ready to learn.
In 2005 a teacher named Missy Hammerstrom came up with the concept of Blessings in a Backpack. Missy discovered that elementary school students in her hometown of Louisville, Ky., were coming to school hungry on Mondays because they lacked sufficient nutrition over the weekends. She had the idea of sending kids home with backpacks full of food on Fridays to bridge the weekend hunger gap—that’s 65 hours of little or no food. That program now serves over 3 million children in 45 states.
In October 2013, two moms set out to make a difference. Under the guidance of the National Organization, the Blessings in a Backpack LONGWOOD Chapter was established. Our program began providing 50 children with weekend food packs every Friday. Over the past 6 years, we have grown to distributing weekly food packs to nearly 450 children throughout all 5 elementary schools in the Longwood Central School District. We’re completely staffed by volunteers who fundraise, shop, pack and deliver food packs throughout the school year.