Fill the Backpack campaign begins, aims to collect 175,000 lbs. of food

Local News

This year’s Fill the Backpack campaign is officially underway and we need your help to make sure kids in our community don’t go hungry when they’re out of school.

News 4 has once again teamed up with Wegmans, Fidelis Care, and FeedMore WNY for this year’s collection campaign.

Between now and June 16, you can buy a $3, $5, or $10 bag of food at the register at 11 different Wegmans locations to donate to FeedMore WNY’s Fill the Backpack program.

“It’s a critical campaign to make sure children in our community get the food they need to lead healthy lives,” explained Catherine Shick, communications director for FeedMore WNY. 

The food you donate during the annual Fill the Backpack campaign is sorted and packed up by volunteers then sent to schools around the region to go home with students who usually rely on free or reduced-price school breakfasts and lunches.

The pasta, vegetables, and more that you purchase for the program help get the students and their families through the weekends until they’re back in school. This year, the program has expanded to also provide food over the summers when school is not in session. 

“So many of these families, when school’s out, they become food insecure,” Shick said. “And what we’ve been hearing from the students who rely on this program is that they share the food that they take home with their younger siblings, or with their mom or dad, so it really is a lifeline for so many families in our community.”

And so many families need your help.

One in five children in the area served by FeedMore WNY struggles with hunger. 

That touches rural, urban, and suburban communities alike.

“These individuals that rely on the program, that rely on FeedMore services, they’re your neighbor, they’re your child’s classmates, even,” Shick pointed out.

The Fill the Backpack program now serves more than 3,500 students in 52 schools across Erie, Niagara, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua Counties.

But, the waiting list for help from the program continues to grow, too.

That’s why, this year, Fill the Backpack campaign organizers have set their sights on collecting at least 175,000 pounds of food. 

“Western New York is so generous, and we have amazing partners for this campaign, so I know we’re going to hit that goal,” Shick said.

You can learn more about the Fill the Backpack program here.

Keep an eye on WIVB’s Facebook and Twitter pages for daily updates!

Watch the video below to see our live interview with Catherine Shick on Weekend Wake Up on the first day of the 2019 campaign.

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