The organization’s annual campaign to raise awareness for child hunger began Sept. 9, and will allow shoppers to donate to its BackPack Program until Sept. 24.
The goal of the program is to give food-insecure children an opportunity to bring home nutritious food during holiday breaks and over the weekend, when they no longer have access to school meals.
As a result, each Friday, a bag of food is placed in a child’s backpack, so that they can take it home to eat and share it with their families.
“Our BackPack Program ensures that children come to school on Monday, prepared to meet the challenges of the week ahead,” Foodlink’s executive director Julia Tedesco stated. “Research has shown that children who don’t get enough to eat can’t concentrate, don’t do well on tests, and have difficulty graduating. The BackPack Program helps bridge the meal gap, and set kids up for success.”
According to Foodlink, Wegmans shoppers can look out for signs with suggested items to purchase and to donate.
Suggested healthy items include kid-friendly foods such as healthy cereal; oatmeal; applesauce cups; granola bars; macaroni and cheese; juice boxes (100% fruit); boxed raisins; peanut butter; canned tuna or chicken; and canned fruit and vegetables (pop-tops preferred).
Pre-packaged bags of food ranging from $5 to $20 are also available at checkout.
In honor of Wegman’s 100th-year anniversary, the store has also donated 100 bags of food, as well as 100 backpacks to go to children in need, for the program.
Foodlink said about 1 out of 5 children in its 10-county service area is considered food insecure, meaning they don’t always know when, or where, they’ll be getting their next meal.
Last year, the group worked with 80 schools to distribute nearly 45,000 bags of food to 4,000 children.
In addition, this year, officials said the organization hopes to collect more than 200,000 pounds of food for the program.
Visit www.foodlinkny.org to learn how you can donate, or to set up a host site, or for additional information regarding the program.