Feed the Children Distributes its One Millionth H.E.L.P Backpack to Provide a Brighter Future for At-Risk and Homeless Youth

Oklahoma City, – Feed the Children, with support from the Oklahoma City Downtown Lions Club, distributed its one millionth Homeless Education and Literacy Program (H.E.L.P.) backpack to a child in need earlier this week. Samuel (7) who was the recipient of the one millionth backpack was excited to also receive a gift bag filled with autographed sports memorabilia, park and museum passes, as well as several other items to mark the occasion. In addition, the two organizations teamed up with St. Luke’s United Methodist Church – Asbury Campus to provide 400 Oklahoma City-area families with food and essentials.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, there were more than 1.3 million homeless school-age children living in the U.S. in 2015-2016. For many of these children, they do not have a backpack. Often, they are left to bring a plastic sack or paper bag to school to carry their papers, pencils and books.

Because education is one of the best ways to help children escape the cycle of poverty, Feed the Children has promoted school attendance and completion through the distribution of its backpacks since 2006. Each backpack Feed the Children distributes across the U.S. in all 50 states is filled with school supplies, personal care items, books and snacks. These backpacks provide children with a fighting chance to have a brighter future.

“It’s an honor to distribute our one millionth H.E.L.P. backpack to a child in need,” said Erin Carlstrom, director of education partnerships at Feed the Children. “To each child who receives a backpack, it’s more than just a backpack. It builds their self-esteem, it preserves their dignity and it is something they can be proud to call their own.”

“Our organization was excited to participate in such a landmark event right here in our backyard,” said Dale Swiggett, president, Oklahoma City Downtown Lions Club. “It was very moving to see the big smile on the face of the child who received the one millionth backpack. The Lions Club has a rich and deep history of taking an active interest in the moral welfare of the communities in which we serve and our partnership with Feed the Children is a wonderful example of this interest at work.”

In addition to distributing backpacks to each attending family, all participants received 25-pound box of food; a 10-pound box of much-needed essentials like shampoo, conditioner, lotion and personal-care items; a 5-pound box of Avon products; and additional items.

This was one of many events Feed the Children has planned at home, across the U.S. and around the world to defeat childhood hunger.

About Feed the Children

Established in 1979, Feed the Children exists to defeat childhood hunger. It is one of the largest U.S.-based charities and serves those in need in the U.S. and in 10 countries around the world. It provides food, education initiatives, essentials and disaster response. It operates five distribution centers located in Oklahoma, Indiana, California, Tennessee and Pennsylvania.

In fiscal year 2017, Feed the Children distributed 79.8 million pounds of food and essentials to children and families in the U.S. Internationally, it provided nutritious food or other benefits to 1,080,000 children, empowered 291,000 parents to make better decisions for their children, and positively impacted more than 1,200 communities and schools in 10 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. It is accredited by GuideStar Exchange and the BBB Wise Giving Alliance.

Visit feedthechildren.org for more information.