Bismarck, ND – A Century High School student has teamed up with the United Way Backpack Program, businesses and individuals to address child hunger in the Bismarck-Mandan community.
For the past seven years, Lauryn Hinckley has been collecting peanut butter and jelly to help feed local children. Last year, more than 7,900 pounds of peanut butter and jelly were collected. With the help of Starion Bank, Bismarck and Mandan public schools, Youth Services America (YSA), Cash Wise, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Move for Hunger, Generation On and the Sodexo Foundation, she plans to make even more of an impact this year.
Hinckley’s inspiration comes from an event she witnessed a few years ago. “When I was 9-years-old, I witnessed a family not able to afford their groceries. I saw two little boys’ faces drop and a look of embarrassment come over their mother in a busy checkout line. Up to that point, I had never considered the fact that you need money to get food.” This type of occurrence may be more common than you’d imagine. One in five children in our area does not get enough food to eat.
Lauryn’s service to our community earned her the 2016 Prudential Spirit of Community Award, bestowed on two youth from each state who have demonstrated outstanding acts of volunteerism. She also was recently recognized by the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation as a 2017 Stephen J. Brady Stop Hunger Regional Honoree.
The United Way Backpack Program is working to end childhood hunger by filling the gaps and sending healthy meals home with students on weekends and breaks. In 2016, the program – supported by volunteers, individuals and local businesses – provided 96,228 meals to students who do not have enough to eat.
The Peanut Butter and Jelly Food Drive will run from March 31 through April 13. Supporting the drive is as easy as stopping by your local Starion Bank to drop off peanut butter and jelly or visiting http://www.msaunitedway.org/pbj to make a monetary contribution. To ensure that items can be delivered to children, please donate 16 to 18 ounce store-bought plastic jars. Youth across the community will also be supporting the effort by hosting drives at their schools.