“Surf’s Up” Mother-Son Date Night Supports Blessings in a Backpack at Georgetown Elementary

Smiles and laughter filled the gym at Georgetown Elementary School as boys and their moms spent a fun evening together at the Hawaiian-themed “Surf’s Up” date night on August 27th.  From hula-hooping to limbo, dance contests to the photo booth with fun props, everyone had a blast.  The PTA hosted this event to allow moms to get a little special time with their sons and to raise money to fund the Blessings in a Backpack program at their school.  About 60 Georgetown students are enrolled in the program and receive a small bag of food through Blessings in a Backpack for 38 weekends of the year.  This event raised approximately $2,600!  Way to go, Georgetown PTA!

“Pigs 4 Kids” Needs Artists!

We are very excited to announce that the NAFC Education Foundation has very generously allowed Blessings to become the sole beneficiary of the Pigs 4 Kids fundraiser this year!  You may have seen these cute little piggy banks around town in local businesses in November and December over the last few years.

We are looking for “artists” to decorate our ceramic piggy banks.  No experience necessary, just a love of helping kids and willingness to get crafty!

Here’s how it works:

  1. Anyone interested in designing a piggy bank can get more details by checking out the links below to the informational flyers which include photos of past creative piggies!  Questions?  Call Tyler Bliss at 812-542-2228 or email at tbliss@NAFCEdFoundation.org.
  2. Once signed up, the artist will go to Earth & Fire, 4212 Charlestown Rd., New Albany where they will have the piggy banks and painting supplies needed, free of charge.3.  They also offer “Pottery to Go” kits so you can take your project home and work on it.  After painting is complete, the artist will bring the pig back to the store to have it baked in the kiln.
  3. Once painted, the pigs may be left at Earth & Fire, or if the artist wants to add embellishments — clothes? hats? glasses? beads? —  after being baked in the kiln, it may be dropped off at the Education Foundation office at 2813 Grant Line Rd., New Albany, IN.
  4. Pigs must be completed and turned in by October 21st!
  5. Get your creative juices flowing by thinking of a theme to build your pig around. Be as imaginative as possible and have fun!
  6. Once the pigs are completed, we will place in local businesses to collect donations for Blessings in November and December.  The pigs will then be auctioned off at the NAFC Education Celebration in March 2017 to raise more money for Blessings!

This is a great way to help our program meet our annual fundraising goal of $160,000 and make sure Floyd County is a hunger-free zone for the nearly 2,000 kids who don’t have enough to eat on the weekend.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT OF OUR PROGRAM!

Click here for artist guidelines and ideas!

Click here to sign up!

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Blessings Scored at “Hoops for Hunger” Raffle!

The Floyd County Elementary Basketball League Championship Tournament held on February 6-7, 2016 was the site of the first annual “Hoops for Hunger” Raffle benefitting Blessings in a Backpack. League Director, Matt Denison, was extremely supportive and gave us a prime location for our raffle table right next to all the action of the games.  All 18 elementary school teams – 9 boys’ and 9 girls’ teams – participated in the tournament.  With lots of basketball-loving families in attendance, it was a perfect opportunity to support Blessings with a basketball-themed raffle.

Tickets were $5 each ($20 for 5 tickets) and the 3 possible prizes included:

  • 2 tickets to 5th row seats in Assembly Hall to the IU Hoosiers vs. Iowa Hawkeyes basketball game
  • Package of 3 hours of private basketball coaching instruction by U of L Legend, Nate Johnson
  • $50 gift card to Dick’s Sporting Goods

All of our prizes had been donated by some very generous community members.

The fans at the tournament were so supportive of Blessings!  Some already knew a lot about the mission of Blessings, while others were eager to know more.  We were able to spread the word about how Blessings provides weekend food to kids who participate in the Free and Reduced Lunch and Breakfast program and who might not have enough food to eat on the weekends.

All in all, we were able to raise $890 = 421 bags of food for the Floyd County Blessings program!  If you missed us this year, check back at the same time next year!

Volunteer Packers Make a Difference

“Grab a plastic grocery bag from the huge pile resting at the head of the long table and put one of each food item in the bag, assembly line style,” the woman coordinating says to me, because I’m new here.

That’s all volunteer packers need to know to make sure 290 kids at Fairmont Elementary, like hundreds of students at each of the other 9 Floyd County public elementary schools, receive a bag of food from Blessings in a Backpack every weekend.

As the last student runs for the bus, volunteers trickle in to Fairmont Elementary School’s gym ready to “pack backpacks” for Blessings in a Backpack. It’s not difficult work. Today, 10 people have come to help. Who are these wonderful volunteers? Some are parents. Some are grandparents of retirement age. Some are school employees who extend their work day to help. Some work at businesses nearby and have just left their jobs for a little while to help pack. On this particular day, employees of Schuler Bauer, members of Graceland Baptist Church and Central Christian Church donated their time to this cause.

The process of packing 290 grocery sacks is surprisingly speedy. They have it down to a science. Every teacher’s class is assigned a large rugged bin. The number of students needing a bag of food – which at Fairmont is almost the entire student body – is written on a piece of tape on the top of the bin. A volunteer who arrived early has already sorted out the exact number of plastic grocery sacks needed into each bin. Other early arriving helpers have opened and unpacked giant boxes filled with individual servings of crackers, cereals and fruit cups and more. When ready to begin, they lift the lid of the first bin, remove the pile of bags and each volunteer takes a bag and heads down the line.

A can of ravioli, a can of beefaroni, 1 cup of Fruit Loops cereal, 1 cup of Crispix cereal, a fruit cup or crackers and soy butter, 2 packages of cheese crackers, and a box of shelf-stable milk. It’s not a lot of food. But it’s something that these kids need. They can open it and prepare it themselves if necessary. And since it’s paid for entirely by donations from businesses and individuals, it’s important that it not cost too much. Each child’s bag of food costs only $2.11 per week.

This process of packing backpacks occurs at every public elementary school in Floyd County on a weekly basis for 38 weeks. Nearly 2,000 bags of food are packed each week. Not one single person is paid to do this. They don’t receive awards or accolades. But they know that without their help, these 290 kids at Fairmont would surely go hungry that weekend.

Volunteers are the lifeblood of Blessings in a Backpack! We are so appreciative of the countless hours donated each year to help make Floyd County a hunger-free zone on the weekends for our elementary school kids! To find out more about the different ways to volunteer with Blessings in a Backpack, please see the “Volunteer” tab on our website, www.BlessingsInABackpackFloydCounty.org.