The Blessings in a Backpack program takes the simple idea of providing daily food for a child's overall well-being and tries to make this idea a reality for elementary school students who don't always receive this basic necessity. Through the work of college and community volunteers, students are provided with a backpack of food to take home with them on the weekends. For some, this may be all the food they will have for those days that they are not in school. The Blessings in a Backpack Organization strives to provide these children with foods that are kid-friendly, nonperishable, nutritious, and easy-to-prepare. Nationwide, schools with Blessings programs have seen the attendance, academic performance, behavior and health of children increase remarkably. All of this couldn't be done without the generosity of the volunteers and donors!
Starting in 2010, a group of Knox College students took the initiative to bring Blessings in a Backpack to Galesburg. Finding support in the community, students at Knox were able to partner with First Presbyterian Church and Galesburg CUSD #205 to bring this initiative to life during the 2011-2012 school year at Cooke School. In the 2012 - 2013 school year Knox Blessings in a Backpack are serving 159 students in Cooke and Steele Elementary Schools. In collaboration with the East Main Hy-Vee grocery store, Knox and First Presbyterian have become strong mission partners in the fight against hunger. The Knox Blessings affiliate meets twice a week, once for business and once to pack backpacks for children; this organization has around 30 members.