Blessings in a Backpack Day Celebrated - September 19, 2014

Record Number: 11084
Displayed from: Sep 19, 2014 , until: Nov 19, 2014

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry joined mayors across the county today in celebrating the work charitable organizations do to fight childhood hunger. The United States Conference of Mayors declared Thursday, Sept.18, as “Blessings in a Backpack Day” in an effort to support the work done by volunteers across the country. To recognize the day, Mayor Henry visited South Wayne Elementary School and assisted in packing bags of food for children to take home for the weekend.

Blessings in a Backpack is a non-profit organization that provides food to families in need over the weekend. The program started in Louisville, Ky., in 2005. In Fort Wayne, Blessings in a Backpack began in 2007 with Adams Elementary School. Today the program is offered at Abbett, Adams, Fairfield and South Wayne elementary schools, providing food for 1,700 children each week. Food is distributed through a network of volunteers and school officials on Fridays before the children leave for the weekend. FWCS partners with Parkview Regional Medical Center and Sodexo to purchase and deliver the food to schools. The food is purchased with funds provided through grants, private donations and an annual fundraiser.

In its resolution, the U.S. Conference of Mayors recognized improved reading skills, positive behavior, improved health and increased attendance have been linked to students who are well-nourished seven days a week. More than 70 percent of FWCS students qualify for free or reduced-price meals, an indication of poverty.

With nearly 30,000 students, Fort Wayne Community Schools is one of the largest school districts in Indiana. FWCS proudly allows families to choose any of its 50 schools through its successful school-choice program creating diversity in each school, including some with more than 75 languages spoken. FWCS offers seven magnet schools focusing on areas such as science and math, communication, fine arts or Montessori at the elementary and middle school level. In high school, students can choose from the prestigious International Baccalaureate program, Project Lead the Way or New Tech Academy as well as other rigorous academic and specialty training programs.