FORT MYERS, Fla. — A local non-profit is helping fight the rise in childhood hunger across Lee and Collier Counties, due to the recent economic impacts of the coronavirus.
During a normal school year, Blessings in a Backpack feeds 5,000 kids every weekend. The children are from 23 local schools in grades kindergarten through fifth grade.
Each bag is filled with enough nutritional, kid-friendly meals and snacks to cover the entire weekend until returning back to school.
Now, with schools closed and more families suffering a loss of employment, they say there's an even bigger need for their feeding program in Southwest Florida.
Blessings in a Backpack says they recently decided to partner with the Boys and Girls Club of Lee County to help feed 1,500 of the area's most neediest children.
Right now, they're distributing 500 meals every Friday to sites in Bonita Springs, Central Fort Myers, and Lehigh.
The program is also distributing every week at 'Grab and Go' schools: Colonial Elementary, James Stephens, Bonita Elementary, and San Carlos Elementary.
Executive Director Cecilia St. Arnold of Blessings in a Backpack in SWFL says they're also changing their free meals to be available to ages up to 18-years-old.
Within the next week, they hope to add additional school sites in Lee County.
The Blessings in a Backpack program is seeking donations to help their Covid-19 response to local childhood hunger.
Arnold says a donation of $4 can feed one local kid a weekend of meals.