Did you know there are 300,000 children going to bed hungry in South Florida? This includes the counties of Miami-Dade, Broward, and Monroe. Over 150,000 of those children are in Miami-Dade county. This means that 1 in every 4 children are hungry in Miami. Caring for Miami’s Backpack Program aims to bridge this gap and meet the needs of children by feeding hungry bellies with food and hungry hearts with the hope and love found in Christ. Volunteers, like the Moleta family, drive this movement through monthly packing events and weekly visits to school sites.
“Caring For Miami is an organization that my family and I have loved being a part of. We have been involved in fundraising events, renovation projects, and most recently in the Backpack Program. We have had a heart for children struggling to find their next meal for the past few years and this program opened our eyes to the realization that there was a need in our own backyard. When our kids started school, this passion intensified and our outlook on malnutrition in our community changed greatly.
We got a firsthand glimpse of this need when we would frequently see children trying to go up to the breakfast line at school, multiple times, only to be rejected by the cafeteria staff. Because of this, I signed my whole family up for a packing event. During this event, the Executive Director of Caring for Miami, Panagiotis “Panos” Kourtesis, shared a story of when he met a girl whom had been benefiting from the Backpack Program for years. He shared that although the meals were a great assistance to her, her favorite part was the hand written notes of encouragement that she received weekly. She saved all of them and would reread them whenever she was having a bad day. At this point, my family and I were hooked!
Soon after, my wife and I not only participated in packing events but also began to deliver meals to a local school. The Dean of Students at that school contacted me to share that the students were immensely grateful for the meals they were receiving. It wasn’t long before we had countless stories of our own that would cement our participation in the program. Since then, we have faithfully served in the Backpack Program. We can’t wait to start delivering meals again this school year!”
– Mike Moleta
It’s because of willing volunteers like Mike, his family, and others that make the Backpack Program successful. You can also join in on the movement and volunteer in several different capacities as the school year commences. Other than weekly deliveries to school sites and monthly packings at Christ Fellowship campuses, alternative opportunities can be found on a prayer team, becoming a backpack packing party leader, and driving to pick up food at wholesale stores, to name a few. In whatever capacity you are lead to serve, don’t hesitate. Rather, follow the yearning in your heart to bridge the gap and fill the hunger in a child’s belly this school year.