Raleigh, N.C. — A Colorado-based backpack company is giving Raleigh customers a chance to make a positive social impact.
When Kelly Belknap and his wife started Adventurist Backpack Company, they shared a common goal to fight food insecurity.
“I noticed that people used a backpack more as a fashion accessory to make their outfits look better, not worse,” Belknap said. “We wanted to do some social good with our company — not just create a great product but also give back in some way.
Research finds 1 out of 5 students face food insecurity, and the Belknaps said that’s why the cost of 25 meals are donated to food banks for every backpack sold. The backpacks are sold across the country — including at the North Carolina State University store.
By partnering with the nonprofit “Feeding America,” Adventurist helps college students and families in the Raleigh area. Food donations are channeled to local food banks like the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina and Raleigh’s Interfaith Food Shuttle.
The movement attracted N.C. State students like Alice Toms.
“I’m in support of all businesses that have that kind of [charitable] aspect to it,” Toms said.
Toms and her classmates said they know many peers struggle with hunger.
Autum Beige, another student, said she knows some students work side jobs in addition to going to school so they can have food security.
Adventurist works with some programs already in place at N.C. State, like a campus food pantry and student donations.
“If you’re going hungry, you really aren’t reaching that full potential that you could if you were not struggling with food insecurity,” Belknap said.
“Every semester we have at least 1,000 meals donated by our students that can help other students in need, said Jennifer Gilmore with N.C. State Campus Enterprises.