Student and religious organization have pitched in to help build out Backpack Buddies’ new distribution facility in Dunwoody. Photo: Backpack Buddies of Metro Atlanta.

Dunwoody-based Backpack Buddies of Metro Atlanta is growing in every way.

The program, which grew from humble beginnings in 2017 and officially launched as a 501(c)3 organization in 2022, has grown from serving 800 food-insecure children a week with weekend meals to more than 1.600 a week last year.

And the organization isn’t resting after doubling its distribution numbers, according to Jesse Adams, the chief operating officer of Backpack Buddies. The goal for the end of 2025 is to serve 2,500 children in need each week.

The organization, located in the Williamsburg at Dunwoody Shopping Center, is expanding into an additional 4,000-square-foot space, which will allow it to triple its storage capacity.

“In this new space, there are much higher ceilings and double doors so we will be able to greatly increase the amount of food we can store,” Adams said. “And the Atlanta Community Food Bank has donated a forklift, which will also help us a lot in storing and moving our food.”

The original 2,000-square-foot space in the same shopping center will be retained as the organization’s administrative headquarters.

BPBMA, which provides food at no cost to students at 41 Metro Atlanta schools, will celebrate its new distribution center on Aug. 13 from 2-5 p.m. at 2480 Jett Ferry Road. The event is free and open to the public.

Backpack Buddies COO Jesse Adams commended the community for its help in stocking the new distribution center in The Williamsburg of Dunwoody Shopping Center. Photo: Backpack Buddies

“In my wildest dreams, I would never have imagined that our board and staff could have accomplished so much in such a short period of time,” BPBMA Founder and Chair Ron Robbins said in a statement released by the organization. “We thank our team in addition to, our incredible community buddies, participating schools and volunteers for enabling BPBMA to feed hungry children on weekends.”

Adams said the typical “backpack,” which is actually delivered in a grocery bag, contains six meals that includes fruits, vegetables, protein and snacks, enough to cover the needs of each child over the weekend. Backpack Buddies does not vet the potential recipients, instead relying on the educational institutions to determine eligibility.

Adams commended the Atlanta community for allowing the quick expansion of the program, which has included significant donations by the Atlanta Jewish Foundation, the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, Coldwell Banker, Brad Stein, Edwin Rothberg, and Barlett O’Neill Consulting Group.

“The community has been so helpful, but we need an ongoing base of support to sustain it,” Adams said. “We are always looking for volunteers and donors.”

For more information about assisting with BPBMA’s mission, visit

Cathy Cobbs covers Dunwoody for Reporter Newspapers and Rough Draft Atlanta. She can be reached at