Blessings in a Backpack needs help continuing mission of feeding children

Blessings in a Backpack needs help continuing mission of feeding children

Story by Stephan Johnson, WDRB

The Louisville Chapter of Blessings in a Backpack helps thousands of local children, but the COVID-19 pandemic has created some challenges.

So the nonprofit is hoping the community will come through.

Kim Holsclaw, managing director of the Louisville Chapter, said the need remains great.

“During the week, the kids get the free and reduced breakfast and lunch at school, but what do they do on the weekend?” she said. “They leave on Friday, and lunch is the last meal they get until they come back on Monday.”

Every Friday, the organization provides backpacks with food for several thousand local students to take home.

“We bridge that gap between Friday and Monday so that the kids come back to school and they’re ready to learn,” Holsclaw said.

The number of children the charity serves is based on the number of donations received.

“We don’t get government funding,” Holsclaw said. “So we are dependent on the community to support us.”

Out of the 80,000 students who qualify, Blessings in a Backpack is able to serve about 5,800. That’s why the organization is asking the public for help.

“People may think that we are exaggerating this situation, but it is absolutely true that kids go home and have absolutely nothing to eat for 65 hours,” Holsclaw said.

Denise Bentley's Birthday Bash!
Denise Bentley's Birthday Bash!
Former Metro Louisville Council President Denise Bentley is celebrating her 60th birthday by asking for donations of at least $60 to the Blessings in a Backpack Louisville Chapter, which will go toward her goal of raising $60,000 to provide 19,000 hunger-free weekends for kids in the Blessings in a Backpack program.

The party is on November 30 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the home of Metro Council member Angela Leet. RSVP by November 19 by calling Denise at (502) 554-5038.

Denise Bentley, a well-known former Louisville Metro councilwoman, said an incident with her granddaughter motivated her to use an upcoming milestone to help the charity.

“My granddaughter had an experience on a school bus where a kid tried to take her food. She was in the fifth grade at the time,” Bentley said “I had to have a long conversation with her about kids going home hungry on the weekends.

“I’m asking people to come celebrate my 60th. It’s not every day that I want to announce that I am 60. This birthday party is a fundraiser for Blessings in a Backpack. One-hundred percent of every penny raised is going to the charity. So I’ve got corporate sponsors, individual sponsors, but I’m also letting people know about Blessings in a Backpack.”

Bentley said the goal is to raise money and awareness.

“When I talk to corporate America about what I’m doing for my birthday, many of them don’t know about food insecurity or Blessings in a Backpack,” she said. “So I’m hoping that this will open up the door so programs like this will continue, and we can service more children.”

Bentley said the birthday celebration is at a friend’s home on Nov. 30. She is also looking for corporate sponsors. For information about the event, you can contact Bentley at (502) 554-5038

“We are dependent on donations to survive,” Holsclaw said. “Someone like Denise, who knows so many people and is doing something so selfless for us, is just … our gratitude is beyond words.”