Every child deserves access to nutritious food, but the devastating impact of COVID-19 on our nation’s food systems has only worsened the child hunger crisis. Feeding America found that Baltimore’s food insecurity is projected to have increased from 18% to 24% in 2020, leaving thousands of people without enough to eat. Today, a local nonprofit is raising money to help confront this hunger crisis.
Weekend Backpacks, a Baltimore-based nonprofit organization, assists vulnerable schoolchildren by packing and distributing bags of food each week to 28 schools in Baltimore City. Each package provides enough food to feed three children up to six meals on weekends and includes additional items such as school supplies, toiletries and clothing.
Due to the pandemic, the organization has seen the number of needed meals double from 300,000 in 2019 to 630,000 in 2020. To help raise funds for the bags, Weekend Backpacks is launching Chef’s Event Reimagined, an interactive four-part virtual food series that will run from March until September.
The first event, “Mixology 101: Dueling Bartenders,” will launch Sunday, March 21, from 3 to 4 p.m. and feature Jason Austin, beverage director of Linwood’s, and Steve Wecker, beverage director of Cured and 18th & 21st restaurants. The star mixologists will lead viewers in a virtual demonstration to make four delicious specialty cocktails. This event is BYOB, but all other ingredients will be provided before the event.
“Food insecurity impacts young lives in often unbearable and sometimes long-lasting ways,” says Weekend Backpacks President Stu Dettelbach in a recent press release. “At Weekend Backpacks, our mission is to make sure no child goes hungry by providing the essential nourishing food they need outside of school when it is often unavailable. We’re very excited to announce this imaginative series featuring creative cocktails and tasty recipes that individuals and families can enjoy in the comfort of their homes and that will enable us to do more for our kids.”
Follow-up events will include “Cupcake Decorating,” “BBQ and Brew” and “Artisanal Breads.” All these virtual programs will feature more delicious recipes and fun tips from local Baltimore culinary professionals. Members of the public can donate $45 to access the first event or pay $160 for all four at a reduced price and receive a custom Weekend Backpacks apron.
You can register for the event and make a donation at weekendbackpacks.org.