Southern Tier, N.Y. (WENY)-- The results are in, and a record number pounds of food was collected during the Food Bank of the Southern Tier's 2017 Fill the Bus Campaign.
Wegmans shoppers donated 101,162 pounds of food during this year's campaign. That's an increase of more than 30,000 pounds from last year's Fill the Bus campaign. The campaign happens during the month of September at five Wegmans stores throughout the region. Fill the Bus campaign supports the Food Bank's BackPack Program, which provides children at risk of hunger with a bag full of kid-friendly, healthy food to take home each Friday throughout the school year.
"Any amount of food that comes in through donated channels is money that we don't have to spend to supply healthy food to kids in need, and it's going to allow us to expand our reach. It's really tremendous," says Natasha Thompson, President of the Food Bank of the Southern Tier.
"It really really encourages me to know that we're making a difference in our communities, that our communities care about each other, and they contribute to the health and the growth of our community, and to our young people who need this," explains Chris Malcolm, the General Manager of the Elmira Wegmans.
Five Wegmans stores in the Southern Tier participated in this year's campaign: Corning, Elmira, Hornell, Ithaca, and Johnson City.
Here's how much each store raised:
-Johnson City: 29,943 lbs.
-Elmira: 16,424 lbs.
-Corning: 20,636 lbs.
-Hornell: 11,323 lbs.
-Ithaca: 22,838 lbs.
More than 41,000 children in the Southern Tier qualify for free or reduced-price school meals. The BackPack Program ensures these kids are able to eat on the weekends during the school year.