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C&S Wholesale Grocers is providing funds to expand and improve Feeding America’s national “BackPack” program, which gives weekend food supplies to low-income children who might otherwise go hungry. Started in 2006, the program currently helps more than 200,000 children each year.
Keene, N.H.-based C&S Wholesale Grocers is a Feeding America Mission Partner, which means that they annually donate a combination of groceries, food and funds valued at over $1 million.
“We began the BackPack program because we heard so many stories about children showing up for school on Monday mornings who had either not eaten, or survived on very little food over the weekend,” noted Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Chicago-based Feeding America. “This has proved to be such a successful and vital program that we receive inquiries on a daily basis from communities eager to start their own programs.”
Gina S. Goff, C&S’ director of community involvement, described the program as “a simple but powerful way to provide for children over weekends or when meals may be scant or even unavailable.”
Congress is currently considering legislation that could boost access to nutritious food for needy children when they need it most, including over the weekend. According to the USDA, over 17 million children are estimated to be living in food-insecure homes.
While the ongoing partnership between C&S and Feeding America extends the reach of the program in the distributor’s communities, helps the initiative innovate and evolve, ensures its sustainability, and leverages corporate assets in the fight against childhood hunger, the current grant will also go to help raise awareness of BackPack.
Serving about 3,900 stores in 11 states, C&S distributes food to supermarkets, retail stores and military bases.