‘Fill The Backpack’ Campaign To Help End Hunger

Staff members and employees of Wegmans’ Jamestown location celebrate the store’s successful “Fill the Backpack” campaign last year, which saw a donation of more than twice its established goal of 6,000 pounds of food. Pictured, from left, are: Tashiana Peyton, front end coordinator; Natalie Christiansen, service desk team leader; Danielle Amico, service area manager; LJ Spangenburg, intern; Ericka Carpenter, front end team leader and “Fill the BackPack” campaign coordinator; and Justin Hodges, front end coordinator and present service team leader. P-J file photo

JAMESTOWN — Wegmans is back at it again: raising money for the “Fill the Backpack” campaign to end hunger in school-age youth in the area.

Now through June 17, shoppers can donate by purchasing $3, $5 and $10 bags of non-perishable food items at the check-out area to raise money for kids to be able to bring home food for lunch and dinner at schools in need.

“The aim of the campaign is to help the hungry,” said Justin Hodges, Wegmans service team leader at the Fairmount Avenue location.

Wegmans has participated in “Fill the Backpack” since its inception and plans on competing against other Wegmans locations in their division throughout Erie and Buffalo. The program services Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Erie and Niagara counties through the Food Bank of WNY.

While the division of Wegmans stores covers this large area, money local customers spend on this program goes directly to local schools. For example, Jamestown’s Wegmans provides funds to the Samuel G. Love Elementary School.

Students who are identified as needing free or reduced price lunches are eligible to take home foods such as pasta, peanut butter, canned goods and more. Other schools that are assisted by this program include those at Dunkirk, Silver Creek, Pine Valley, Westfield and Brocton.

“One hundred percent of everything that we raise goes right to the area,” Hodges said.

Employees are encouraged to participate as well, and they enjoy competing against each other to see who can raise the most money.