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Hannaford partners in launch of “Backpack Buddies”



Heatly Elementary School in Green Island, NY today announced the launch of a new program designed to help alleviate child hunger


For Immediate Release
April 4, 2012 

Eric Blom

Hannaford Supermarkets partners with regional food bank launch “Backpack Buddies”
Donation from Hannaford to provide students in need with healthy food on the weekends

GREEN ISLAND, New York – Heatly Elementary School in Green Island, NY today announced the launch of a new program designed to help alleviate child hunger. The “Backpack Buddies” program will provide students in need with bags of child-friendly, nutritious food for times when other resources are not available, such as weekends or school vacations. The announcement comes only days before the dismissal of students for April break.

The program will be funded by a $2,500 donation from Hannaford Supermarkets and is organized by the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York. The donation will provide 29 students with backpacks filled with food every Friday for the remainder of the 2012 school year.

Students are recommended for the program by teachers or principals who see first-hand their nutritional needs. The non-descript backpacks are filled with non-perishable and easily consumed food and discreetly distributed to children on the last day before the weekend or a school holiday.

"Our ultimate goal is to provide the conditions for our students that will allow them to learn and achieve at their highest possible level. The Backpack Buddies program fills an essential need for students who simply do not have access to the resources vital to ensuring growth, health and general wellness,” said Heatly Elementary School Principal Erin L. Peteani.  “We are deeply appreciative of the efforts of both Hannaford Supermarkets and the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York in helping to get this critical program up and running.”

The backpacks contain child-friendly food items, including cereal, granola bars, bread, shelf-stable milk, juice boxes, and fresh fruit and vegetables. Each backpack also includes three entrees, such as cans of Spaghetti Os and beef stew, macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly and tuna fish. The average cost of one backpack for a week is $5.56.

“Hannaford Supermarkets is deeply committed to alleviating hunger within our community. Childhood hunger can have lifelong consequences. When a child is fed, they are equipped to learn, grow and dream of a future filled with opportunity,” said Hannaford Supermarkets Community Relations Specialist Molly Tarleton. “We hope this program helps to remove the barrier of hunger that exists for the children at Heatly Elementary School.”

The Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York secures the food for the program, provides warehouse space to store the product and works with school officials to deliver the food to the school and assemble the food packages.

"We are very pleased to add Heatly Elementary School as our 24th BackPack Program. It is wonderful to see teachers, administrators, and other school personnel so concerned about the well-being of the children in their care and to have a company like Hannaford respond so generously to their request for help,” said Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York Executive Director Mark Quandt. “I am confident the backpacks will make a real difference for the children who receive them."

Since its inception in 2007, the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York’s backpack program has expanded to 24 schools in eight counties throughout the Capital Region. The program serves over 525 students per week, providing approximately 90,000 meals per year.

About Hannaford Supermarkets
Hannaford Supermarkets, based in Scarborough, Maine, operates 179 stores in the Northeast. Stores are located in Maine, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. All Hannaford stores feature Guiding Stars, America’s first storewide nutrition navigation system and most stores have full-service pharmacies. Hannaford employs more than 26,000 associates. Additional information can be found at www.hannaford.com.

About the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York
The Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that collects donated food from the food industry and distributes it to nearly 1,000 charitable agencies feeding the hungry in 23 counties of northeastern New York. The food provided by the Regional Food Bank helps to feed over 40,000 people each week. In 2011, the organization distributed over 25 million pounds of food to the hungry. The Regional Food Bank is a member of Feeding America, the nation’s food bank network. The organization is supported by foundations, private contributions and fundraising events. For information on services offered by the Regional Food Bank, call (518) 786-3691 or log on to http://www.regionalfoodbank.net.

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