LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Feeding hungry kids is the mission of Blessings in a Backpack. In the spirit of giving, the Louisville-based nonprofit is recognizing some volunteers and community heroes designated "Warriors For Kids." These people, who have gone above and beyond in various ways to help children during these uncertain times, are nominated for a drawing for a prize.
Inside one virtual second grade classroom, you'll find one such warrior. Sarah Weedman teaches at J.B. Atkinson Elementary School, located in the Portland neighborhood. Each child at her school qualifies for free or reduced-price meals, and most also receive items from Blessings in a Backpack. They take home food items each Friday to eat over the weekend.
Weedman knows how important nutrition is to learning. She's proud of the work people are putting in to adjust services over the pandemic.
“So it does cut back on the things we have to worry about in the classroom and allows the student to have that really physically there, and know this weekend I’ll be able to eat," Weedman said. “People are really rallying together, families are rallying together."
Her efforts earned her a nomination for an award through the Warriors initiative. The drawing for a prize comes during this upcoming Giving Tuesday. Weedman takes online courses to improve her digital classroom and collects college t-shirts and sweatshirts throughout the year for her students to wear on Fridays.
“I want them to know what kind of opportunities are out there," she said.
"You know, helping set those long-term goals and making sure kids understand the importance of education," added Blessings in a Backpack's Robin Rueff.
With education powered by nutrition, Rueff says 'Blessings' hopes to feed even more kids soon. The need is growing amid the pandemic.
“Prior to the pandemic, 11 million kids qualified for our program. And now based off the numbers we’re seeing, we’re estimating that 18 million kids nationwide qualify for Blessings in a Backpack," Rueff said.
This Tuesday, the nonprofit's goal is to raise $100K. It costs $130 to feed one child each weekend for the school year.