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Our Mission

Filling in the Blanks fights childhood hunger by providing children in need with meals on the weekends.

Our Story

Filling in the Blanks was founded by mothers and community activists, Shawnee Knight and Tina Kramer, who created the nonprofit as a way to marry their loves of community, children, food and charity. In 2013, Knight and Kramer created Filling in the Blanks which has now expanded to include over 200 sites throughout Fairfield and Westchester Counties and has delivered over THREE MILLION-weekend meals to children in low-income households.

Who We Support

Pre-Schools

BRIDGEPORT

  • Adam J. Lewis

  • Bright Giggles Learning Center

  • Classical Studies Magnet

  • Cesar Batalla

  • Discovery Magnet

  • Hall Neighborhood House

  • New Beginnings Family Academy

  • Precious Memories

  • Roosevelt School

 

DANBURY

  • AaBbCc Early Learning Center

  • Action Early Learning Center

  • Danbury School Readiness

  • Mill Ridge Primary Pre K

  • Head Start Danbury

GREENWICH

  • Family Centers of Greenwich

    • Armstrong Court

    • Gateway​

    • Grauer

    • Warburg

NORWALK​​

  • Greater Norwalk Head Start

    • Nathan Ely

    • Ben Franklin

  • Family and Children's Agency/ASPIRE

  • Growing Seeds

  • Norwalk Early Childhood Center

  • Odyssey

  • Room to Grow

  • Stepping Stones ELLI 

 

STAMFORD​

  • Apples Early Child Education Center

  • Childhood Learning Centers

    • Franklin

    • Franklin Common

    • Lockwood

    • Lathan Wilder

    • Maple

    • Palmer Hill

    • Westover​

​​

Elementary Schools

NEW YORK

 

BRIDGEPORT

  • Achievement First

  • Black Rock

  • Beardsley

  • Bridgeport Learning Center K-12

  • Bryant

  • Classical Studies Magnet

  • Claytor Magnet

  • Curiale

  • Edison

  • Geraldine Johnson

  • Hall Elementary

  • High Horizons Magnet

  • Hallen

  • John Winthrop

  • Luis Munoz Marin

  • Madison

  • Park City Magnet

  • PL Dunbar 

  • Skane

  • Read

  • Thomas Hooker

  • Waltersville

  • Wilbur Cross

 

DANBURY

  • Ellsworth

  • Hayestown

  • King Street

  • Morris Street

  • South Street

  • Shelter Rock

  • Stadley Rough

  • Park Avenue

  • Pembroke

 

DARIEN

  • Royle

  • Hindley

  • Tokeneke

 

GREENWICH

  • Hamilton Avenue

  • Hubbard Day

  • Julian Curtiss

  • New Lebanon

NEW CANAAN

  • East

  • South

  • West

 

Stratford

  • Franklin Elementary​​

NORWALK

  • Brookside

  • Cranbury

  • Columbus

  • Concord

  • Fox Run

  • Jefferson

  • Kendall

  • Marvin

  • Naramanke

  • Rowayton

  • Silvermine

  • Sono

  • Tracey

  • Wolfpit

​ STAMFORD

WESTPORT

  • Coleytown

  • Green Farms

  • Kings Highway

  • Long lots

  • Saugatuck

Middle Schools

BRIDGEPORT

  • Achievement 1st

  • Barnum

  • Blackham

  • Cesar Batalla

  • Multicultural Magnet 

DARIEN

  • Middlesex

 

DANBURY

  • Rogers Park

  • Broadview

  • Waterside

 

FAIRFIELD

  • Covenant

  • Tomlinson

NEW CANAAN

 

NEW YORK

  • Fox Lane

NORWALK

STAMFORD

  • Cloonan

  • Dolan

  • Rippowam

  • Scofield Magnet 

  • Turn of the River

 

WESTPORT

  • Coleytown

  • Bedford

High Schools

BRIDGEPORT

  • Bassik 

  • Central 

  • Fairchild Wheeler

  • Harding 

  • Military Academy

  • Tisdale

 

DARIEN

FAIRFIELD

  • Fairfield Ward

  • Walter Fitz

GREENWICH

  • Greenwich

  • Windrose

NORWALK

 

NEW CANAAN

STAMFORD

WESTPORT

  • Staples

Camps

NORWALK

  • Odyssey Pre-school Camp

  • Stepping Stones Pre-school Camp

  • Grassroots Tennis Summer Camp

  • Family and Children Agency

 

STAMFORD

 

GREENWICH

After School Programs

Danbury

  • Grassroots Academy

 

NORWALK

  • Colonial Village Community Center

  • Family and Children's Agency/ASPIRE

  • Grassroots Tennis

  • Norwalk Housing Authority

  • Youth Business Initiative

STAMFORD

  • Future Five

GREENWICH

Partner Agencies

BRIDGEPORT

  • Mercy Learning Center

  • The Color A Positive Thought

DARIEN

  • Darien Town Hall

NORWALK​​​​

  • Senior Umbrella

  • Norwalk Housing Authority

  • Carver Center

  • Norwalk PS State Dining Services​​​

GREENWICH

  • Meals on Wheels

  • Jewish Family Services

 

NEW CANAAN

  • New Canaan Food Pantry

Westport

  • Westport Town Hall

Filling in the Blanks provides weekend meals to children in need who are eligible for the free or reduced lunch program. As well as the A.L.I.C.E. Population. 

This program is available throughout the year, including the summer months.

For just $10.00 a weekend, each child is provided with a bag of non-perishable, easy to prepare food items. Each bag contains 4 meals for the weekend.

Our Founders

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Shawnee Knight, Co-President/Co-Founder

Shawnee Knight is a passionate chef, community activist, board member, wife, and mother. Classically trained at the French Culinary Institute of NYC, co-founding Filling in the Blanks has allowed her to marry her love of food, community, and charity. What began with the Connecticut chapter of Blessings in a Backpack has grown into an organization based on Knight’s strong sense of social responsibility to nurture the community’s needy children and inspire others to do the same. Shawnee is a member of the Stamford Food Collaborative, a United Way program, whose mission is to improve access to food, quality of food and sustainability of food for all members of Stamford. She is also a member of the Stamford Public Schools Strategic Planning Advisory Committee, which focuses on ways to improve the educational well being of the district’s students. When she’s not serving on committees and boards in the area of New Canaan, CT, Knight enjoys spending time with her husband and two sons.

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Tina Kramer, Co-President/Co-Founder

Filling in the Blanks allows Tina to combine her passion for community service and love of children. Through her deep-rooted connections in the community, she has rallied families and children to help raise funds and pack thousands of bags of food for children in need. Tina has served on various charitable boards and committees over the past 14 years. Tina is a member of the Stamford Food Collaborative, a United Way program, whose mission is to improve access to food, quality of food and sustainability of food for all members of Stamford. She is also a member of the Stamford Public Schools Strategic Planning Advisory Committee, which focuses on ways to improve the educational well being of the district’s students. Tina received her B.A. from the University of Connecticut.

Our Team

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Jen Badalamenti

Administrative Assistant

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Kevin Demmo

Warehouse Coordinator

Bio

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Matt Knight

Assistant Director of Operations

Bio

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Julio Lopez

Warehouse Lead

Bio

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Jake Mazza

Special Event Coordinator

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Jenn Mason

Director of Development

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Luca Palombo

Director of Operations

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Esteven Restrepo

Community Outreach

Ripple Effect

William Restrepo

Delivery Driver

Bio

Drapery Fabric

Glenn Spearman

Delivery Driver

Bio

Our Board

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Thomas Conheeney

Director

Thomas Conheeney is the Founder and CEO of EmeraldRidge Advisors, L.P.  With 30+ years of experience working across multiple asset classes for leading Wall Street firms, he also has played roles in the philanthropic and education communities in Fairfield County. 

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Michael Johnson

Director

Michael Johnson is the Founder and CEO of J5Consulting. After 30+ years in the consulting business, he spent a few years after leaving the firm he founded supporting various causes focused on two areas: Education and Children. The Johnsons have a number of scholarship funds they manage that supports the underserved communities. 

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Douglas Knight

Director

As a Managing Partner of Worldtek, Doug harnesses his diverse experience in local, regional and mega agency operations with a focus on the financial aspects of the company. Doug is an industry veteran with one of the most multi-faceted agency insiders in today’s travel management marketplace.

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Michael Kramer

Director

Michael Kramer is a founding member, owner and CEO of Ducera Partners, a boutique investment banking firm based in New York City. Prior to the founding of Ducera, Michael held senior leadership positions at other investment banks, including Perella Weinberg Partners, Greenhill & Co and Houlihan Lokey. 

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Chris LaSusa
Director

Chris LaSusa is head of Long Short Equities for Paloma Partners Management Company, a 42 year old investment firm with offices in Greenwich Connecticut and New York City. Prior to Paloma, Chris was a Portfolio Manager and Technology Sector Head at Point72 working there from 2003-2017. Chris is also heavily involved in The East Side House Settlement and the Lynne Cohen Foundation from a charitable standpoint. Chris lives in New Canaan with his wife Jennifer of 25 years with four children.

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Sue Mirza
Board Chair

Ms. Mirza spent 15+ years in corporate banking and private equity before “retiring” to raise her family in Fairfield County and devote her time to philanthropic efforts. She devotes her time locally to Board seats at Filling in the Blanks and Inspirica.

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Kristin Thomas
Director

Since 2013, Kristin has been a dedicated volunteer for Filling in the Blanks. Kristin has been the Grant Writer for Filling in the Blanks since 2018. She has been instrumental in securing the necessary resources to support the organization's mission and enhance its impact on the community.

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Laura Waitz
Director

Laura Waitz is currently the Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of Bankwell.  She is a strategic business executive who uses her deep human capital management experience and relationship building expertise to impact growth of organizations while ensuring a best-in-class experience.
She is also a Board member of the African Leadership Foundation and serves as an Advisory Board member of Summus Global.  Laura resides in New Canaan, CT.

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