More Than 2,200 Children to Receive Food from School-Based BackPack Program as Leonard Bus Sales DOUBLES Annual Donation Due to COVID-19 Food Insecurity
Saratoga Springs, NY, June 3, 2020 – With COVID-19 straining food banks across the state, Leonard Bus Sales announced that that they will be doubling their donations to partner food banks as part of their annual support of the school-based BackPack nutrition program. For the past few years Leonard Bus Sales has taken the funds it would traditionally spend for promotional items at industry trade shows and have invested it in local BackPack nutrition programs throughout the state to help ensure no child goes to school or bed hungry.
In previous years Leonard Bus Sales would contribute $5 per attendee at the Association of School Business Officials of New York, the New York Association for Pupil Transportation, and New York Head Mechanics Association conferences which typically totaled $5,500 in food donations. This year due to increased need, and despite cancelation of these conferences, Leonard Bus Sales is doubling their contribution to seven regional food bank partners to the tune of $11,000 and helping more than 2,200 children state-wide.
“The support of Leonard Bus Sales, now and throughout the year, is truly appreciated,” stated Karen Belcher, Interim Executive Director, at Food Bank of Central New York, one of the seven regional food banks receiving support from Leonard Bus Sales. “The donations from Leonard Bus Sales’ annual conferences are used to support our school food pantries. These pantries provide nutritious food to children and their families on weekends and during school breaks. We thank them for continuing their support during this time when schools are closed. Demand for nutritious food has increased, yet is out of reach for so many in our community, and these funds will ensure that there is continued access.”
More than 22 million school children receive free or reduced-price school-based meals daily, but what happens when they go home for the weekend, or a school vacation keeps them away from school for an extended period? What happens to them during this pandemic when schools have been closed for months and will remain so until the Fall Semester? Established by Feeding America (feedingamerica.org), the national “BackPack” Program provides meals to over 450,000 children in need during the time they are not at school. The food is usually discretely distributed at the end of the school day and given to the child when they leave for the weekend or vacation.
“For more than fifty-years, Leonard Bus Sales has dedicated itself to providing safe school buses to protect children and families in New York state,” said Leonard Bus Sales President, Jon Leonard. “During these challenging times, we sought a way to continue serving children and families who are struggling more than ever. Partnering with local food banks and doubling our commitment to ensure that children don’t go hungry seemed the perfect continuation of our mission to serve and support the communities we call home.”
Leonard Bus Sales has committed to donating two BackPack food bundles per each attendee that would have participated in the three previously mentioned conferences had the conferences not been canceled. The seven participating food banks will be provided a proportionate share of the meals donated based on the number of children they serve.”
Food insecurity is on the rise with an estimated 16.2 million children in the US threatened by hunger each year. This threat can jeopardize a child’s development and ability to succeed. Often, hungry children have a tougher time focusing on school and their future. Proper nutrition feeds positive physical and mental development and can lead to better academic and economic achievement.
To learn more about the Food Bank of Central New York go to foodbankcny.org, or to learn more about school-based hunger programs near you go to feedingamerica.org.
About: Leonard Bus Sales, Inc. is owned and operated by the Leonard family, a recognized leader in the distribution and support of quality, environmentally-friendly school buses. A third-generation family owned business, Leonard Bus Sales has been providing cost-saving fleet management services and award-winning customer support for over fifty-years. Leonard Bus Sales is a leading distributor of IC BusTM brand school buses in Upstate New York and distributes Trans Tech Type-A school buses throughout New York. The company operates full-service facilities in Bergen, Deposit, Middletown, Rome, and Saratoga Springs (leonardbus.com).
About: The Food Bank of Central New York serves as the main food distribution hub for hundreds of partner agencies that comprise the emergency food network in our eleven-county service region across central and northern New York. The Food Bank provides more than 14 million pounds of food – the equivalent of 12.1 million meals – to hungry families, children, and elderly every year.