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  • News 4 Buffalo

    “The Backpack program is absolutely critical.” Fundraiser continues to help children across WNY

    By Trina Catterson,


    BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – There is just one week left in this year’s Fill the Backpack campaign helping feed kids across Western New York. According to FeedMore Western New York, approximately 1 in 5 children living in Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties may suffer from food insecurity.

    In its 10th anniversary, the Fill the Backpack campaign has returned to Wegmans, helping inspire customers to donate toward helping young boys and girls.

    “The Backpack program is absolutely critical. It’s a program that is currently providing nutritious foods to about 7,400 students,” said Catherine Shick, FeedMore Western New York’s public relations manager. “While we partner with schools during the school year to provide nutritious food to take home each week for children, we also run this through the summer months as well.”

    10-year-old Nori Murray is one of those children who benefits from your generous donations. She expresses her gratitude to the community for giving back to those who might be struggling.

    “It makes me feel happy because the community is helping those that are less fortunate,” Murray said. “I feel really good because they’re helping people who need more food.”

    Several families across Western New York rely on lunches that are provided throughout the school year. It helps them feed their kids and only have to focus on getting one meal on the table each day. But, when those children are home for summer vacation, they are missing those two free meals each day. This can have an impact on their mood and growth at a young age.

    “We know that children may be sick more often, they may have behavioral issues when they are not receiving enough nutritious food,” Shick explained. “Conversely, we’ve talked to our schools and our summer camp partners. We’ve learned that once these children are receiving consistent food offerings, they’re present more, they have energy, they are happy, they want to play, they want to learn, they want to grow, and they want to thrive.”

    There are several different feeding sites where children benefit from these donations. One of those is at the William-Emslie Family YMCA. Michael Baggerman, Communications Director at YMCA Buffalo Niagara says the YMCA is grateful to be a part of a good cause.

    “To be able to partner with a great organization like FeedMore Western New York to help combat food insecurities in our community is something that we strive to do,” Baggerman said. “FeedMore Western New York setting up the infrastructure to make this project work is amazing. We’re very excited to be a distribution partner of theirs to help fight food insecurities in our region.”

    As of Wednesday, June 12, Wegmans says it has raised enough money to fill 18,290 backpacks. If you would like to make a donation, the easiest way to do so is at Wegmans. If you can’t make it out to a store location, you can donate here.

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