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Buy a backpack, feed 25 people

Since the first day of the company launch in Sept. 2017, Adventurist Backpack Co. has been giving away meals. For each one of their backpacks sold, 25 people don’t go hungry.

By selling backpacks, Kelly Belknap and his wife Matilda — both self-proclaimed adventurers — share the same dream of their company being able to provide a quarter million meals to food insecure people across the US by Sept. 2020.

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The backpacks come in a variety of colors (Israel Campa / The Signpost)

The couple are the founders of the Adventurist Backpack Company. They are a two person business and have been providing meals nonstop, networking, designing backpacks and learning as they go on how to run their business. Currently they have given out over 90,000 meals—and they are feeding more and more people each day with each sale.

Kelly Belknap said, “The backpack industry has historically high markups, and we thought there was no real need for the two ingredients of a backpack (fabric and zippers) to cost more than $100. From the beginning, we knew that we wanted to give back in some way.”

The reason behind Adventurists Backpack’s 25 meals program is to help the food-insecure. The Business started 3 years ago on the couple’s travels abroad, during the spring and summer of 2017. Kelly and Matilda were witnessing the lack of food available and helping hungry people, giving food to anyone desperate and struggling. While packing each morning, they could only fit 25 meals in each of their large camping backpacks, meals which they were giving out to anyone in need that they crossed paths with during their daily excursions.

As Kelly said, “We witnessed and met with families that were struggling with hunger, which shed a light on a situation we realized we had heard a thousand times but had never actually witnessed up close. Anyone (including whole families) can end up in this kind of situation due to purely unlucky circumstances.”

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These backpacks are a good size for a quick trip (Israel Campa / The Signpost)

After their travels in 2017, they were inspired to create top-notch, affordable and practical backpacks with the intertwined goal that they run a company that takes advantage of its position and resources to feed people in need.

When asked how one backpack turns into 25 meals, Kelly said, “We partner with the leading national hunger non-profit Feeding America in order to provide meals to over 200 food banks across the U.S. It’s awesome for us to have such a reputable and established partner so that we’re able to provide nutrition to those in need in the most efficient and successful way possible.” Running Adventurist Backpacks takes up most of Matilda and Kelly’s time, and their partnership with Feeding America and 13 universities makes it possible for them to focus on the business aspects of their new company, including their goal of feeding a quarter million people by Sept. 2020.

“No one in our country should be going hungry in 2019, just as a backpack made of high-quality fabric and zippers shouldn’t be marked up to cost over $100, and that’s why we started Adventurist,” Kelly said. Adventurist Backpacks are now available at the WSU Bookstore.

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