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CHICAGO — While CPS schools feed breakfast and lunch to one in five kids who receive food assistance, those in need over the weekend may have nowhere to go.

So for years, Blessings in a Backpack has been loading clear plastic bags with food that’s slipped into a kid’s backpack on Fridays, preparing them for the weekend.

“People often think, ‘there aren’t hungry kids in my community,’ but the reality is every single state, every single county, there are hungry children,” said Susan Kane, Blessings in a Backpack.

Once a week, students at schools like Francis Xavier Ward School start their day with a powerful lesson in paying it forward. Kids as young as four years old help others just like themselves, one carefully packed bag at a time.

“In Chicago, there are more than 290,000 kids that go hungry on the weekends,” Blessings in a Backpack’s Kimberly Flanagan said.

Through the schools and corporate packing parties, volunteers pack as many kid-friendly servings as they can. Every bag will be delivered to local schools, giving 5,700 kids something to bring home every Friday.

Unlike school breakfast and lunch plans that are federally subsidized, Blessing in a Backpack relies exclusively on donations to fill those weekend food bags. If you want to help with their fundraising efforts this summer, head to