In schools across America, more than 20 million children rely on free and reduced price meals through their school lunch programs. However, when those kids are away from school over weekends and school breaks, many of them go hungry. Backpack
programs, managed by local food banks and other community agencies, help address this problem by providing children in need with a backpack full of nutritious, shelf-stable and easily prepared food they can take home over the weekend or school break.
The CenturyLink Backpack Buddies Food Drive strives to raise funds and awareness for these programs. Since 2009, we have encouraged our employees to support their local food banks through our annual drive and last year, we launched our first completely virtual drive that allows our community members and customers to partner with us.
Through our online site, www.centurylink.com/fooddrive, you can choose from nearly 150 food banks throughout the U.S. and make a monetary donation to support their efforts. The site will be open from June 5 until 10 p.m. CDT June 16. In support of this program, our CenturyLink Clarke M. Williams Foundation will donate $1 million to participating food banks based on the amount of money they raise through the drive.
Summer is a challenging time for food banks because children are out of school and many do not have access to school-based summer lunch programs. This presents an increased demand on low-income families already struggling to make ends meet. Food banks in turn see a spike in the number of requests they receive from families and often struggle to keep their shelves stocked during the summer. In order to support these needs, we allow our participating food banks to allocate 50% of match dollars received through our drive to their Backpack Programs and use the other 50% to support ongoing efforts such as emergency food boxes for families in need and monthly senior distributions.
Due to a food bank’s ability to buy in bulk, they can do much more with your dollar than you could by purchasing food in your local grocery store to donate and they can direct it where it’s needed most. On average, food banks can provide up to 5 meals per dollar donated. Your donation, along with the match it will generate from the CenturyLink Clarke M. Williams Foundation, can have significant impact.
This summer we invite you to be a CenturyLink Backpack Buddy and join us in the fight against hunger.