Buy & Give: Nourishing the Future with Blessings in a Backpack

Buy & Give: Nourishing the Future with Blessings in a Backpack

Discover how Millcraft’s Buy & Give copy paper assists the greater mission of Blessings in a Backpack.

The only national nonprofit that concentrates on feeding kids over weekends, Blessings in a Backpack mobilizes communities, individuals, and resources to provide food on the weekends for school-aged children across America who might otherwise go hungry. 

With programs in 46 states, and headquartered in Louisville, the work of Blessings in a Backpack is about children and families – people, not statistics. Yet, allow the following numbers to make clear the very personal and powerful nature of what Blessings in a Backpack in Louisville facilitates.

  • 64,000 – Pre-Covid, the number of children in Louisville who were eligible to receive a backpack each weekend.
  • 80,000 – Current and rising number of children in Louisville who are now eligible to receive nourishment from Blessings in a Backpack each weekend in 2022.
  • 0 – Blessings in a Backpack provides children with nutritious shelf-stable food that provides the most protein and fiber possible for the dollars spent. The food must meet criteria that includes: no appliances necessary to prepare the food, meaning no stove, no microwave, not even one single can opener. 

"The people who are getting help from Blessings in a Backpack are the people who truly need help,” says Pablo Diaz, Division Manager of Millcraft Louisville.  

“These kids, especially now with the pandemic, need us more than ever,” says Kim Holsclaw, Managing Director, Blessings in a Backpack - Louisville Chapter. “There are so many people who’ve lost jobs, who can’t make ends meet and are struggling financially. If a child qualifies for free and reduced lunch at school, they qualify for Blessings in a Backpack. 

Holsclaw furthers, “Children without food to eat over the weekend spend 65 hours hungry, and are expected to come to school like other kids on Monday, ready to learn. It’s not realistic. If we cannot provide the most basic needs for every child, their futures are not going to change. Without people like Millcraft helping this mission, we couldn’t do what we do.”

Buy & Give: Paper With Purpose

Established in 2014, Millcraft’s Buy & Give initiative grew out of its mission to create meaningful impact within Millcraft’s communities, and to give back to those in need. The program provides businesses the opportunity to support local charities through routine purchases of Millcraft’s Buy & Give brand office paper. For every carton of paper purchased, Millcraft donates $1 to the program. 

Since its inception through 2021, Buy & Give has generated nearly $600,000 within Midwest communities served by Millcraft divisions and select charitable organizations, including Blessings in a Backpack - Louisville Chapter. 

“We feel privileged that they chose us,” Holsclaw says. “We’re not partners with, or as well-known as some of the larger programs. The fact that they saw our mission, and have supported us, it’s amazing.”

From 2015 and through 2021, Millcraft’s Buy & Give program has provided more than $30,000 to Blessings in a Backpack - Louisville Chapter, with annual donations averaging $4,500. As it costs $120 to feed a child for a whole year with Blessings in a Backpack, Millcraft has been directly involved with providing nutrition to nearly 275 children and families in Louisville since 2015.

Diaz, who has been with Millcraft for two years, says that Millcraft’s division in Louisville is growing and now includes 11 employees when there were once four. He says his expanding team will be working together to provide even more charitable donations, and Diaz says Millcraft’s Buy & Give program represents how one small thing can change the world.

“Customers have so many options for copy paper,” Diaz says. “They buy this paper because they want to be part of helping.”

Touching Lives with Blessings in a Backpack 

“One might say it’s just copy paper,” Holsclaw says, “but to us, it’s changing lives. I don’t look at it as copy paper, I look at it as a lifeline. These kids … sometimes they don’t have anyone they can count on. Helping them, showing up for them every weekend, it goes way beyond the backpacks.” 

Diaz, who joined Millcraft from a 20-year career with another company, says Millcraft’s Buy & Give program and relationship with Blessings in a Backpack was influential in his decision. He says he was drawn to the fourth generation family-owned business who was willing to be part of, and do something about, helping those in need.

“The corporate world is great, but working with Millcraft feels like a family, where you’re part of something special,” Diaz says. “We’re touching lives with Blessings in a Backpack.”

By: Jen W. O’Deay

To learn more about the Buy & Give program in your community, 
Just ask.

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