Foodlink Inc. has rolled out its annual “Fill the Bus” campaign that aims to put a dent in childhood hunger.
The Fill the Bus food drive, which is organized through a partnership with Wegmans Food Markets Inc., 13WHAM ABC, FOX Rochester and CW Rochester, will run from Sept. 8 through Sept. 23. The drive collects donations for Foodlink’s BackPack Program, which allows food insecure children an opportunity to bring home a bag full of nutritious food over the weekend and during holiday breaks when they no longer have access to school meals.
More than 50,000 children in Foodlink’s 10-county service area are unsure how many meals they will eat on a given weekend, officials noted. Last year, Foodlink worked with more than 80 schools to provide roughly 50,000 bags of food to more than 4,000 children throughout the school year.
“Study after study shows the link between a healthy diet and success in the classroom,” Heather Newton, Foodlink’s director of community engagement, said in a statement. “The BackPack Program helps us improve the health outcomes and educational attainment of children and strengthen our communities, and we’re so grateful for the public’s support.”
This year, Foodlink’s goal is to collect more than 250,000 pounds of food. In four years, the campaign has collected 634,000 pounds of food, including 247,000 pounds last year.
Shoppers can purchase non-perishable items at area Wegmans, as well as pre-packaged bags of food ranging from $3 to $10 at checkout.
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