About Us

Childhood hunger is a fact of lifkidseatinge in Bellevue. One in five students in the Bellevue School District qualifies for free and reduced price meals at school. For some of these kids, school meals represent the bulk of their weekly nutrition.

On weekends, they used to go hungry.

Since March of 2012, Backpack Meals for Kids has been working to eliminate the tragedy of weekend hunger. We started in two schools, providing weekend meals for 20-30 students weekly. Today, we serve 28 schools, all grades, and provided 72,654 meals in the 2017-2018 school year.  The Muslim Community Resource Center now provides for Sherwood Forest Elementary School exclusively, packing food for 2 months and funding the rest of the school year, a value of approximately $10,000.

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Academic Year 2017-18 brought another burst of growth for Backpack Meals for Kids. In just one year, the number of weekend food packs increased 28 percent – from 9,501 to 12,109. Soaring demand underscored the need for BPM’s unique mission: filling the weekend hunger gap so that students are equipped to learn and succeed.

Kids, families and schools love BPM

In its seventh full year of operation kids and families continued to share their enthusiasm for the program. Year-end evaluations found satisfaction ratings ranging 96-99 percent. Kids wrote heartwarming thanks:

  •    “Thank you so much for giving us food so we don’t stay hungry. You guys are amazing and so kind.” 
  •    “Thank you for donating food for us. I feel happy and appreciate what you do for my family.”
  •    “Thanx a lot. It tastes grat! I love it so much. Your very nise. So kind. Your the best!”

School staff  also wrote to share their postive assessment of BPM:

From Highland:  “This program has greatly helped our students and families with sustenance, but also with connectedness. Students feel loved and appreciated when getting their food for the weekend.”

From Tyee:  I love the Backpack Meals program for many reasons. The most obvious is knowing that the kids are going home with the  food they need for the weekend. They are so happy and it is wonderful to see. The program is also very easy for me and the kids to manage and maintain.”

From Tillicum:  “We receive emails from parents who are so grateful for the food. You are a wonderful support to our school and we are so thankful.”

Volunteers make it work

Since its beginning in 2011, BPM has operated as an all-volunteer, community-based organization. Donors can be assured that their donations go to buy food for hungry kids.

In 2017-18 volunteers contributed well over a thousand hours to preparing and distributing food, outreach and fund-raising, plannning and promoting and administering the program.


Thanks to a generous community

Community support from volunteers and donors made this year’s dramatic growth possible. New donors stepped forward while long-time donors continued their generous support. Again this year BPM received significant support from local churches, individual donors, families, organizations,  food drives and fund raising efforts sponsored by Overlake Hospital, Samena Club preschoolers and Cherry Crest fifth graders, among others. Special gifts included:

  • Herzl-ner Tamid congregation $3,000 to support BPM’s summer program focusing on homeless students.
  • Bellevue Sunrise Rotary – an annual gift of $2,500.
  • Bellevue Downtown Rotary new $5,000 grant.
  • Windermere Foundation $10,000 grant for the fifth straight year.
  • Muslim Community Resource Center – $2,500 cash and in-kind donations to end childhood hunger.


Increasing budget needs

Program growth continued to place a strain on the organization’s all-volunteer resources. Accelerated fund-raising will be a priority in 2018-19, along with enhanced outreach and recruitment of new board members and volunteers.



Year-end financial

$109,311     Expenses (cash out)

 88,871     Cash income

[$20,440]    2017-18 cash deficit


Total donations                                                                    

$88,817   Cash donations

   2,000    In-kind donations

               $90,817    Total donations

2018-19 Projection

$115,672   Cash requirement

   41,871    Cash on hand  (from previous years)

$73,801    Cash needed to maintain level of service


2018 graphs



Backpack Meals for Kids is a community-based, all-volunteer, non-profit organization.  We welcome and appreciate your interest in sharing your resources as a donor or as volunteer. Contact us at jdstarrs@gmail.com, see our website www.backpackmeals.org, and like us on Facebook.