HERO: Feeding hungry kids one backpack at a time

By Bill Murphy, Everyday Hero Host
Last Updated: Monday, December 04, 2017

A warm meal can make all the difference for a child. 

That's why one local group has dedicated themselves to feeding Bay area children - one backpack at a time. 

Margaret and Carl Holler founded the Pinellas chapter of Blessings in a Backpack, an organization that feeds hungry children. The couple, and their volunteers, stay busy at the Midtown Academy in St. Petersburg, taking in donations and filling up backpacks. 

Margaret Holler is a former elementary teacher who noticed the hungry children in her school. Carl said he remembered when Margaret said she wanted to pursue this. 

"I thought this is certainly ambitious," Carl said. "But I knew when she put her heart into something it's going to be successful and I knew there was such a need." 

Every Friday, the group packs bags and backpacks with food. 

"It's to get through those 65 hours from Friday to Monday morning," Margaret said. "Where there's some children who don't have anything at all at home."  

Anything at home as in food - especially during the holidays. 

And that has led Blessings in a Backpack to pack bags even heavier right now as students have the holidays and more days off from school. And the all-volunteer non-profit is becoming well known among school and social work officials. 

"We've had social workers come to us and say the child has a brother or sister at home," Margaret said. "So can we pack extra food and we say of course we can."