Blessings in a Backpack: Pro golfer donates millions to end childhood hunger in Central Florida

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Kate and Justin Rose foundation recently donated $1 million to the Orlando chapter of an organization dedicated to keeping kids fed.

Thousands of young kids in Central Florida don’t get enough food on the weekends.

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Justin and Kate Rose have raised and donated millions of dollars in the past to go towards the fight to end that problem.

“How can they come to school Monday morning? You’re not really going to get through to a kid who is malnourished...not able to concentrate and fully focus,” Rose said in a PGA tour video back in 2012.

He’d already been making the donations for three years by then, but recently he and his wife Kate committed to doing even more to end child hunger in Central Florida, making a $1 million dollar donation to the Orlando Chapter of Blessings in a Backpack.

The organization works with schools, giving kids food on Fridays, so they get the nutrition they need over the weekend.

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“If you’ve got a kid with a hungry tummy, I don’t care how good the book is, I don’t care how great the teacher is, how exciting the experiences...that child is probably not going to do that well,” Kate Rose says. “If you’ve ever been in situations, hopefully rarely, but really genuinely hungry, and there is no food. It’s very hard to think of anything else.”

The Orlando Chapter of Blessings in a Backpack was actually started by the Kate and Justin Rose Foundation last May, just as the need was exploding because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Launch video

We are excited to officially announce the launch of the Kate & Justin Rose Foundation Chapter of Blessings in a Backpack in Orlando! In 2009, the Kate & Justin Rose Foundation teamed up with Blessings in a Backpack to help fight childhood hunger on the weekends in the Orlando area. Since then, our support has grown from providing weekend food for 400 students to more than 1,865 students! Find out how we're continuing to feed more kids together at orlando.blessingsinabackpack.org #team🌹

Posted by Kate & Justin Rose Foundation on Monday, May 4, 2020

The couple, originally from England, adopted Central Florida as their home and realized they could make a meaningful difference.

“We were already involved with blessings in a backpack, but then when we actually had our own children, and saw that immediate effect between food, no food, and the effect it has on behavior, you really kind of realize how essential food is as a first step,” Kate says.

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Rose Blessings Orlando is currently serving more than 3,000 kids at 24 different schools throughout Orange, Seminole, and Osceola Counties. Their goal is to get to 16,000 by 2030.

To learn how to contribute to Blessings in a Backpack, just visit their website. Kate Rose says they always need volunteers to hand out food on Fridays.

Joe Kepner

Joe Kepner, WFTV.com

I unloaded the U-Haul in Orlando in 2008, just in time to cover the Magic's run to the 2009 NBA Finals.