In  the early 2000’s as a school lunchroom employee, Alice Prevatt saw children who were coming to school hungry and those same children who could not pay for lunch. It broke her heart. She tried to help the children, but because of district rules, she was unable. She was, however, determined to help. Her deep Faith and conviction drove her to action. She began to discreetly help with this one school and as word spread, she began serving whoever called. She started a program she called “Backpack Blessings” in 2010. She bought food, asked people to donate, and assembled bags for these children to take home. Her motto was “Find me the next hungry child!” She personally ran the program. First out of her house for six years(which she eventually outgrew), then at a local Fountain Inn church, Fountain Inn Presbyterian who offered her space for several years, (which she soon outgrew), until 2018 when she was offered a permanent space at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church where we are currently located.

All through these years Alice was assisted by a small and growing group of regular volunteers who helped her in every facet of the Mission by gathering food, packing bags and delivering those bags to our schools. We are truly a grass roots, hometown, local organization.

Our Founder, Alice Prevatt

In the fall of 2019, Henry Pickard who was retired could not sit around idly. He asked on a local Facebook group if there were any opportunities to volunteer in the Simpsonville area. 

“Have you tried Upstate Backpack Blessings?” was the response (Thank you Lok-Yi!). 

He looked into it, and he began volunteering. Alice saw his leadership skills and willingness to help in whatever capacity and began training him. The retired Navy Chief felt right at home with the Mission.

Of course the ‘pandemic’ interrupted everything for the next 18 months. We resurfaced and began serving the children again in the fall of 2021. Also during this time Henry and his wife, Deborah, were invited to and became a part of a group coordinated by Live Well Greenville of all the Backpack Blessing (Weekend Food providers) in Greenville County. This partnership provided a listing of all Greenville County SC schools and who was serving their needs. It was revealed that there were 5 schools in lower Greenville County who were not being served. They were in our area.Once they were contacted immediately the number of children we served doubled. We then became stable with the number of schools we serve at 17. (A word of comfort here, Greenville County is virtually covered with multiple groups working to help others in this type of effort.) 

The fall of 2022 was a pivotal turning point for us, sadly Alice experienced health issues in late 2022 and was unable to continue serving in a day-to-day role. She retired from Upstate Backpack Blessings in early 2023 after faithfully serving the children and the community for more than 12 years. She touched countless children’s lives.

 As God does, He prepares for changes like this and so Henry Pickard answered the call in early January 2023 and assumed the position of Director. Today, the Mission of Upstate Backpack Blessings continues to come alongside “at risk” children in the Upstate of South Carolina, specifically the lower half of Greenville County via our schools.

During this time we also experienced a shift of church ‘sponsorships’. We were transferred from the former New Hope Baptist Church to 1st Baptist Simpsonville Upstate Church, where we remain today as a Mission Partner and under the umbrella of their 501(c) (3). We also continue to operate as a Mission Partner with Pleasant Grove Baptist Church who provides a secure, stable, long-term facility for us.

As the influx of people to the Upstate area has progressed so too our need has grown. The number of children receiving food bags weekly grew exponentially each school year since 2022.

We are truly and wonderfully blessed to have a cadre of regular full-time volunteers that give of themselves every week. Making sure the food is in place, the bags get packed and the drivers deliver to the schools. There are more than 30 different people who faithfully commit to being here and making the Mission Happen!

We continue now as we expand our digital footprint and our electronic presence to share our story and Our Mission with you. To show you there are volunteers sharing themselves, their time and energy to accomplish this Mission. To invite you to walk with us, support us financially  and to share in this experience. We invite you to come and see. We need your prayers and help to continue this Mission. 

Our firm belief is that “There is NOTHING too small, to be done for another.”

Our Director, Henry Pickard
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