Helming, Geneva locals fill backpacks with food

One million children in New York state go hungry every day, a statistic that surprised state Sen. Pam Helming, who has made several stops throughout the 54th Senate District this month to highlight hunger awareness.

As part of Hunger Action Month, Helming’s tour brought her to West Street School in Geneva Thursday to help pack bags of food given weekly to children participating in the Weekend Backpack Program.

“I think the numbers are staggering,” she said.

“That’s unacceptable coming from a country that makes enough food to feed the world,” said Rich Austin of the Geneva Rotary Club, which is helping fund the backpack distributions and hopes to raise $17,000 to $20,000 to help fight childhood hunger. Other club members helping out were John Watson and John Oughterson.

In assembly line fashion, Helming, Rotarians and school staff systematically removed items like canned spaghetti sauce, individual applesauce cups, fruit and cereal from boxes to package up for kids for the weekly Friday distribution. Also taking part were members of the Geneva Rotary Club, which donated proceeds from its annual dinner to help fund the program.

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