JACKSONVILLE, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nemours Children’s Health, Jacksonville and the Jim & Tabitha Furyk Foundation have partnered to make a donation that clears a years-long waiting list at existing Blessings in a Backpack schools with a critical need. The expanded support will provide healthy weekend food for an additional 880 children in Northeast Florida during the 2023-2024 school year.
Millions of students nationwide get food during the school week through federal meal programs. However, many struggle with food insecurity on the weekends — or limited access to enough food to support a healthy life. Blessings bridges the gap in child nutrition over the weekend by providing ready-to-eat food for school-age children across America who might otherwise go hungry.
“We know that food insecurity has serious implications for childhood development including physical and mental health, cognitive and social development, and academic achievement,” said Nemours Children’s Health President and CEO R. Lawrence Moss, MD, FACS, FAAP. “We are so grateful for Jim and Tabitha and the work done by Blessings in a Backpack in helping our community’s kids get the food they need to be healthy today and into adulthood.”
Long-time Blessings partner, the Jim & Tabitha Furyk Foundation, has worked closely with the nonprofit for more than 10 years, supplying food each Friday for many students over the school year. Through the Blessings in a Backpack First Coast Chapter, they have provided millions of hunger-free weekends to Duval and St. Johns County school students.
“Blessings in a Backpack has always been near and dear to our hearts. Having the opportunity to partner with Nemours Children’s Health to add these additional children so that hundreds of kids have hunger-free weekends has been so impactful,” said Jim Furyk, PGA TOUR golfer.
With the expanded support of Nemours Children’s and the Jim & Tabitha Furyk Foundation, Blessings in a Backpack First Coast Chapter will make hunger-free weekends a reality for 5,300 students in Northeast Florida this school year.
"Kids can't be kids when they're hungry. The consequences of childhood hunger are much more than a growling stomach… fatigue, the inability to concentrate, mood swings, and depression," said Erin Kerr, CEO of Blessings in a Backpack. "We're grateful to partner with Nemours Children’s Health through the 'Well Beyond Medicine' initiative to prevent weekend hunger and create a healthier future for Jacksonville kids."
The children added to the Blessings program encompass two counties and seven schools: Andrew Robinson Elementary School, Annie R. Morgan Elementary School, Hyde Grove Elementary School, Mayport Middle School, and San Jose Elementary School in Duval County; and James E. Webster Elementary School and John A. Crookshank Elementary School in St. Johns County.