Our Mission Statement
Backpack Buddies is a 501c3 non-profit organization created to supply economically disadvantaged children in the Coweta County School System with food for the weekend. Many children in our county are dependent on the "Free and Reduced" lunch program provided by their schools during the week and they have very little to eat over the weekends and holidays. We work with school counselors to identify children "at risk" for hunger and then we supply them with nutritious, self-serve food that will sustain them when school meals are not available. We are currently serving 885+ children in 31 schools, which is only scratching the surface of the true need here in Coweta County. Our vision is to be able to service these children year round through our normal school week operation and also be able to provide bags of food for these children over the summer months when the children do not have access to the “Free and Reduced” lunch program offered in the schools. We do this because research shows that hungry children have poorer mental and physical health, suffer with more behavioral disorders and are less prepared to learn when they are in school. Hunger is an increasing epidemic in our county and most residents are unaware. The Backpack Buddies program is essential to help relieve hunger, which in turn will improve grades, health, school attendance and self-esteem in these children.
April Anderson - President & Founder
April, her husband Brent and their 4 kids live in Senoia, GA, where they served their community in full-time ministry for close to a decade. Currently, the Anderson’s continue to love and serve the people of Senoia running a local coffee shop and cafe in the heart of town. April’s love and compassion for serving people led her to begin Backpack Buddies in 2011.
April first heard of Backpack Buddies at a National Church Conference. When she returned home she immediately started meeting with the Board of Education officials to assess the child hunger needs in our community. She was astounded by what she learned; there were over 200 homeless children in our county and almost half of the school’s students were dependent on the “Free and Reduced” lunch program. She started sharing this information with friends and family, and within weeks she began collecting food.
Backpack Buddies of Georgia was launched in February 2011, serving two schools and 36 children. Before the organization celebrated its first anniversary it had already doubled the number of schools and nearly tripled the amount of children served. In January 2018, Backpack Buddies took its biggest leap of faith by serving every school in Coweta County.
Lori Burnett - Program Coordinator
Lori and her husband, Todd, have served in ministry together for the past 25 years and have raised their daughters, Annabeth and Addison and their son, Braden to serve with a heart for ministry as well. Lori attended Liberty University where she earned a degree in Psychology.
Because of her love to help others, Lori began volunteering with Backpack Buddies while serving on staff at a local church. In August 2017, she transitioned into the role of Program Coordinator for Backpack Buddies. Lori has a heart to serve the children of Coweta County by meeting the physical need of hunger in hopes that those children will be more successful in school which ultimately will help them be more successful in life.
Nicole McNutt - Office Administrator
Nicole attended Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas where she earned a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education. She and her husband, Chad, have three wonderful children, Caitlyn, Kylee and Keaton. After moving to Newnan in 2005, she has served in several roles at a local Elementary School on the PTO Board, substitute teaching and teaching in the computer lab, and has served in many different ministry roles within her church.
Nicole has volunteered at Backpack Buddies for several years and looks forward to this new role helping Backpack Buddies continue to grow and reach more students in our county.