Elmira, NY (WENY) – The Food bank of the southern tier held the first annual "pack-a-thon" benefit ting the backpack program on Thursday. The backpack program provides backpacks full of food to kids in need over weekends and holidays when they are not at school to help them get three meals a day.
Local media stations came together for a friendly competition to see who could pack the most non-perishable items for children and their families. WENY was joined by Cayuga Radio, Community Broadcasters, and WETM competing for a good cause. The hour long competition required everyone to move fast and have a strategy in place.
This was the pilot run to see how successful the event would be; for competitors, the intensity was higher than imagined.
“I would say that it was an amazing success, the energy in this room was palpable. Everyone was excited to roll up their sleeves and work really hard for an hour or two to pack as many backpacks as they can knowing that those bags are going to help feed hungry kids,” says Natasha Thompson, President and CEO of the Food Bank of the Southern Tier.
September is hunger awareness month which amplifies the importance of the backpack program.
The trial run went so well the competition will take place again next year but this time with twenty corporations instead of four. They're also numerous other ways to get involved with the food bank and contribute.
“We have veggie t-shirts for sale on our website, they say beet hunger and squash hunger. They can donate a dollar, one dollar allows us to provide three meals, so its really significant. If they'd like to donate food, they can donate items for our backpack program, what we packed here today, mac 'n cheese, peanut butter, and soup for example,” says Krista Matia, Donor and Community Engagement Manager at the Food Bank.