Backpack Buddies Foundation Provides Grant to Community Meals Service

The Ampersand Project’s daily free meals service in Leesburg got another boost Friday morning when the leaders of the Backpack Buddies Foundation presented a $15,000 donation.

The foundation was formed to support efforts to ensure students in need were sent home with extra food supplies on Friday afternoons—a help to families who depend on school cafeterias for many of their meals. The nonprofit provides grants throughout the year to organizations, such as school-based backpack buddies program, that are working to provide weekend meals. 

It has been even more challenging since schools closed in March, but, Foundation founder and President Hampton said, the community—from scores of individuals to corporate sponsors like the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Ashburn—has responded with strong support for the organization, which also had to postpone its large annual fundraiser because of restrictions on public gatherings.

“Everyone is doing the best they can in a really unique, not fun environment,” he said. That’s true of The Ampersand Project, launched by Leesburg attorney Peter Burnett.

Since its launch at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, project has served more than 43,000 free meals—along with diapers and bouquets of flowers—to anyone who drives through its East Market Street service center. There, volunteers, with the support of area restaurants and community donations, hand out meals seven days a week.

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