Thanks to a supportive and generous community, Backpack Meals for Kids enjoyed our most successful and rewarding year in 2018-19. After eight years of operation, we begin the new school year of 2019-20 with heightened confidence in our long term financial stability.
From September through June, kids were the focus of all Backpack Meals activities. We strived to fulfill our core mission of providing healthy weekend meals to hungry children from preschool through 12th grade. We launched new initiatives and program improvements based on feedback from the community and the families we served. And we expanded our board and our outreach to the community. Below are a few of the year’s high points. Click here to read a printable version of the report.
Some Achievement Highlights
Feeding preschoolers – After learning about the extent of need among preschoolers in Bellevue’s tuition-free Early Education program, we implemented a weekly feeding program specifically designed for 68 preschoolers.
On the radio – Backpack Meals was selected by KOMO Radio for special attention during its Helping Hands holiday features. Click here to hear it.
IRS recognition – Backpack Meals received its own 501(c)3 designation after seven years under the fiscal agency of Eastside Interfaith.
Listening and acting – We continued our annual survey of school staff, students and families, and added a focus group to obtain feedback from high schoolers. Based on student opinion, we adjusted weekly menu items for 2019-20.
Surveys said . . .
In the program’s eighth full year of operation, kids and families continued to share their enthusiasm. Year-end evaluations found satisfaction ratings continuing to range 96-99 percent positive. Families noted that the food selections are easy for kids to prepare. Kids said they like having food available when they get hungry on weekends. Staff members commented that supplemental food is having a positive effect on child nutrition and family budgets.
Volunteers have a heart for kids
Again in 2018-19 volunteer hours totalled well over 1,000 hours. The efforts of 30 regular volunteers were enhanced by dozens of individuals and groups who helped with packing, hosted special events, and conducted food drives and fund raising activities.
Thanks to a generous community, Backpack Meals took a giant step toward long term sustainability through the support of generous donors. In 2018-19 significant support came from faith organizations, community groups, businesses, individual donors, families, and foundations.
Special gifts included:
Grace Lutheran Church Congregation — $42,499 one-tme gift from sale of property
- Herlz-ner Tamid and Bellevue Downtown Rotary — $3,000 and $5,000 respectively to support BPM’s preschool feeding program
- Bellevue Sunrise Rotary – an annual gift in the amount of $3,200
- Windermere Foundation — $11,000 grant (six-year donor)
- Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation — $25,000 grant
- Seattle Foundation — $10,000 grant
- Muslim Community Resource Center, Muslim Association of Puget Sound, Islamic Center of the Eastside Preschool — Significant ongoing cash, in-kind and volunteer contributions
- Bellevue PTSA, Bellevue Firefighters, Aldersgate United Methodist, St. Madeleine Sophie, St. Louise Catholic Church and many other faithful donors
$167,793 cash donations
– 73,854 cash expense
+44,988 ’17-18 carry over
$138,927 cash on hand