Chicago Chapter

Did you know nearly 300,000 kids living in Chicagoland are food insecure? That is one in seven kids who eats meals at school during the week but is without affordable, healthy food on Saturday and Sunday. The consequences are much more than a growling stomach. Hunger can cause many physical health problems. It can shorten a child’s attention span, lower their IQ, and keep them from making good grades.

That’s where Blessings in a Backpack can help.

Our mission is simple: we provide food on the weekends for school-aged children who might otherwise go hungry.

Our Impact During the 2020/21 School Year

With childhood hunger numbers rising during the COVID-19 pandemic, the recent launch of the Blessings in a Backpack Chicago Chapter in 2020 was more vital than ever. Whether schools were virtual, in-person, or a hybrid of both, our chapter stayed committed to providing hunger-free weekends for children despite any obstacle. In addition, we identified alternative routes to distribute food—we cultivated relationships with local community organizations to reach almost 1,500 kids, creating over 26,000 hunger-free weekends!

During the 2020/21 school year, we distributed 157,990 bags of ready-to-eat food to 4,514 school-aged children at 51 program locations across Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will Counties.

For more information, contact Dan Summins at or (312) 823-0406.

Jenner Academy of the Arts is one of many schools Blessings in a Backpack supports weekly in the Chicagoland area. In this video, produced by the Northwestern University Dance Marathon (NUDM), Principal Robert Croston and Blessings Coordinator Heidi Wagman give us a sense of how Blessings in a Backpack impacts its students.