Vera Bradley, the women’s fashion and lifestyle brand, announces today its continued partnership with the non-profit organization Blessings in a Backpack to kick off a new philanthropic program for this year’s back-to-school season. Blessings in a Backpack mobilizes communities, individuals, and resources to provide food for elementary school children across America who might otherwise go hungry.

“The consequences of hunger are much more than a growling stomach,” says Richard Stephens, Board of Directors Chair for Blessings in a Backpack. “Poor nutrition can result in a weaker immune system, increased hospitalization, lower IQ, shorter attention spans, and lower academic achievement. We are honored to partner with Vera Bradley to continue making a difference in these children’s lives.”

Fourteen million, or 19%, of all children across the United States live in food-insecure homes.

Today on the tenth-year anniversary of her Olympic gold medal win, celebrity athlete Shawn Johnson (East) co-hosted the exclusive nationwide kick-off event of the Vera Bradley and Blessings in a Backpack back-to-school charity tour at St. Vincent de Paul Center in Chicago, IL.

The facility’s elementary school classes were treated to a larger than life carnival where Shawn joined the partnering brands in announcing their philanthropic pledge to donate 25,000 backpacks filled with food for under privileged kids and their families across America.

The space was transformed to create a kid-friendly memorable experience including games such as a pirate bounce, ring toss, skee ball, whack-a-mole, life size connect-four, inflatable obstacle course, mini golf, double shot basketball, two-minute drill football, sand art, spin art, and much more all with fun prizes to take home.

Everyone enjoyed colorful cotton candy and popcorn in between playing the numerous carnival activities.

Over the next four weeks, Vera Bradley and Blessings in a Backpack’s philanthropic partnership will continue to mobilize communities, individuals, and resources to provide new backpacks and food for children who might otherwise go hungry.

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