The Dish winter 2014 Two High School Students Organize BackPack Program

The Dish
winter 2014
Two High School Students Organize BackPack Program
for Hungry Children in O’Neill
Cultivating a positive change
in the community can seem
like an overwhelming task at
times. Two philanthropically
minded high school students
in O’Neill, Nebraska
demonstrate how the power
of an idea and the motivation
to see it to fruition can make
a lasting impact for those in
hunger as their focus. They were inspired
to start a BackPack program in O’Neill for
children in need. They did research and
engaged individuals and organizations in
the community for support.
Grace Bunner and Amanda Pischel are
sophomores at O’Neill Public High School
and members of Family, Career and
Community Leaders of America (FCCLA).
Last spring while preparing for their
Students Taking Action with Recognition
(STAR) project, the ladies chose childhood
Grace and Amanda contacted Food
Bank for the Heartland, learned about the
BackPack program and made preparations
to start a program at O’Neill Elementary
School. Arrangements were made to have
the packs delivered to North Central District
Health Department where they could be
“I saw an episode of Chopped on the Food
Channel where contestants were competing
for their charities that provide food to
hungry children, and I decided that I wanted
to help hungry children in my community,”
said Grace. “No child should be hungry.
My desires and the new category for STAR
were definitely a best fit.”
stored until volunteers from the community
delivered them to O’Neill Elementary School
each week. Grace and Amanda coordinated
all of the details. O’Neill’s BackPack
program began in November 2013. Forty
packs are being distributed each week to
children in need.
Currently, Food Bank for the Heartland’s
BackPack program distributes 7,900 packs
of food each week to 200 schools across
Nebraska and western Iowa. The schools
give the packs to children who are at risk of
hunger to take home during weekends. The
food is provided to the schools at no cost
to them.
In July, Grace and Amanda’s STAR project
was one of only eight projects chosen
nationwide for a presentation at FCCLA
Nationals in Nashville in the No Kid Hungry
category. It received a gold medal.
Recently I was on a panel talking about
hunger and food insecurity. Afterwards
a woman came up and said, “Well, I
don’t support people who get food
stamps – they don’t deserve it.” The
next day my colleague, Bill Bolling,
CEO at the Atlanta Community Food
Bank, writing in that food bank’s
newsletter, asked a question that
recalled that woman’s comment. With
his permission, some of his remarks are
captured here:
“…she looked me in the eye and said
she doesn’t like to support people who
use food stamps because they buy
things she views as unhealthy like soft
drinks, snack food, beer and cigarettes.
When I told her that was not quite
true, that people couldn’t purchase
cigarettes, beer, or even toiletries with
food stamps, I detected a chill. She
then told me she didn’t think people
who could work should get any help at
all. When I told her that most people
who receive food stamps do in fact
work, but make very low wages, that
access to food stamps is strictly income
The Chew’s
Michael Symon
to Entertain
Guests at
Celebrity Chef
Celebrity Chef has become an
important tradition for Food Bank for
the Heartland. Since 2001, the event
has celebrated food and its meaning
in our lives by bringing together
supporters in the community to
showcase the talents of a notable chef
while raising awareness and funding
for Food Bank for the Heartland.
based, she didn’t seem to believe me…
she had a strong narrative about fraud
and abuse and worthiness. Facts didn’t
seem to matter for her.”
Food stamps are a lightning rod for
many of us, a symbol of all that’s
wrong in our country. But according to
research released this summer by the
USDA and by the Center for Budget
and Policy Priorities, food stamps have
lifted people out of poverty, reduced
food insecurity, provided for healthier
newborns, and have correlated with
improved educational achievement and
less reliance on welfare in adulthood by
women who had received food stamps
for periods during their childhood. Do
the facts count anymore, and if so,
whose facts count more?
Bill went on to discuss, “If we don’t
share a common set of facts as a
community, how can we plan, how
can we determine priorities, how can
we trust each other? Let’s move from
throwing our personal sets of ‘facts’ at
each other like rocks, and determine
what works. Today our greatest poverty
may be our lack of constructive ideas
and courage to try them.”
His holiday wish closed with, “May
those with a strong moral compass
stand up and speak up for what is right.
If we can’t agree on the facts, may we
dig deep into our collective soul to take
the higher path based on common
values and higher aspirations to make
the world a better place for everyone.
It requires a generous heart full of grace
and brutal honesty about what we know
in our hearts
is true.”
Thank you, Bill. And
thank you, friends, for
knowing what in your
heart is true and
blessed in this
holiday season
and throughout
the coming year.
Steaks and chops and wings, oh my! Food Bank for the
Heartland is thrilled to feature meat-loving chef, Michael Symon,
at the 13th annual Celebrity Chef fundraiser on March 6.
Chef Symon appears on ABC’s The Chew and on the Food Network’s
Iron Chef America. He is the chef and owner of Lola, Lolita and The
B Spot in Cleveland and Michael Symon’s Roast in Detroit. He is
the author of Carnivore: 120 Recipes for Meat Lovers and 5 in 5: 5
Fresh Ingredients + 5 Minutes = 120 Fantastic Dinners. Chef Symon
was honored with a prestigious James Beard Award in the Best Chef
Great Lakes category in 2009.
Presented by ConAgra Foods and featuring KETV as the media
partner, this year’s Celebrity Chef event is being held at the Embassy
Suites in La Vista. Julie and Paul Maass are the honorary chairmen.
Sally Christensen is the event chairman. Individual tickets are $150,
and patron tickets are $300. Patron ticket holders may attend an
exclusive party with Michael Symon at 5:00 p.m., prior to the start of
Celebrity Chef and receive a copy of his latest cookbook.
At the main event, guests will enjoy cocktails and appetizers, a
cooking demonstration by Chef Symon during dinner, a raffle and a
live auction. The dinner menu is inspired by Chef Symon’s Greek and
Sicilian ancestry.
For more information or to reserve your ticket for Food Bank for the
Heartland’s Celebrity Chef, please contact Joani Mullin at
[email protected] or 402.905.4810.
Raises $800,946.20 for BackPack Program
Thanks to the overwhelming generosity of
the Woodhouse Auto Family, Clear Channel,
KGBI-FM and the community, thousands of
children across Nebraska and western Iowa
will get the food they need.
The Woodhouse Challenge V collected an incredible
$800,946.20 for Food Bank for the Heartland’s BackPack
program during October and November, surpassing the
goal of $800,000! For the fifth year, the Woodhouse Auto
Family challenged its employees and the community; both
responded with tremendous support.
Lance and Becky Pittack, owners of the Woodhouse
Auto Family, graciously donated $200,000 to the Food
Bank’s BackPack program and challenged Woodhouse
employees and the community to raise $200,000 and
$400,000, respectively. Woodhouse employees generated
$200,737.03 while the community challenge netted
$400,309.17, bringing the entire campaign total to
$800,946.20. Since 2009, the Woodhouse Challenge has
donated more than $2.4 million to the BackPack program!
“On behalf of Woodhouse, I would like to thank the
community and our employees for all that they have done
and their willingness to share God’s blessings in making a
difference in a child’s life and for giving them hope,” said
Woodhouse CEO Lance Pittack. “Together we can make a
All funds from the Woodhouse Auto Challenge are
directed toward the Food Bank’s BackPack program. The
program provides nutritious weekend meals to children in
approximately 200 schools in Nebraska and western Iowa.
Money raised from the Woodhouse Challenge will ensure
over 5,000 children will receive weekend BackPacks for
an entire school year. Currently, the program is distributing
7,900 packs each week to children in need.
An enormous thank
you to Lance and
Becky Pittack, the
Woodhouse Auto
Family employees
and customers,
Clear Channel,
KGBI-FM, and
the community for
your extraordinary
support and
Shining the Light on Hunger
during the Holidays
Food Bank for the Heartland
10525 J Street • Omaha, NE 68127
(402) 331-1213
Susan Ogborn, President & CEO
[email protected]
Jack Round, Director of Finance & Accounting
[email protected]
Brian Barks, Director of Development & PR
[email protected]
Ericka Smrcka, Director of Programs & Advocacy
[email protected]
Amy Wackerhagen, Director of Agency Relations
[email protected]
Sarah Grobbelaar, Director of Talent
[email protected]
Dave Love, Distribution Center Director
[email protected]
Kevin Hood, Sourcing Specialist
[email protected]
Angie Grote, Assistant Director,
Marketing & Brand Management
[email protected]
Joani Mullin, Event Planning Specialist
[email protected]
Michelle Sause, Child Hunger Program Coordinator
[email protected]
Jason Moucka, Agency Relations Specialist
[email protected]
Steph Montgomery-Loder, Hunger Free Heartland Director
[email protected]
Dennis Thomas, Commercial Food Manager
[email protected]
Lori Heesch, Child Hunger Program Specialist
[email protected]
Tarna Kidder, Chairman
Kiewit Construction Building Group
Thomas M. Burke, Vice-Chairman
EMC Corporation
Bill Larson, Treasurer
First Data Resources
Stephen J. Ciesielski, Secretary
Javlin Capital
Susan E. Ogborn, President
Food Bank for the Heartland
Rod Anderson, Masimore, Magnuson and Associates
Mary Balluff, Douglas County Department of Health
Sally Christensen, First National Bank
Richard Gregory, Community Volunteer
Jeffrey P. Hoffmann, Bank of the West
Kathy Kimball, American National Bank
Michael P. Kubasik, Travel and Transport
Jeff Olson, Mi Mama’s Tortillas
Julie Schultz Self, Koley Jessen
Tara Stingley, Cline Williams
Nina Swanson, PayPal
Nancy Todd
Carol A. Williams, Mutual of Omaha
Bradley Wright, Black Hills Energy
Fr. Damian Zuerlein, St. Columbkille Church
Stephen Gehring, Legal Counsel, Cline Williams
The holiday season was brighter
for thousands of hungry families in
our community because of ConAgra
Foods’ seventh annual Shine the Light
on Hunger campaign that was part of
the Holiday Lights Festival in Omaha.
All of the proceeds from the ConAgra Foods Ice Skating Rink
were donated to the Food Bank for the Heartland. The ConAgra
Foods Foundation also matched other donations of food and funds
contributed during Shine the Light on Hunger.
Thank you to ConAgra Foods, Baker’s supermarkets and everyone
who generously gave food or funds and helped raise awareness of
hunger. The proceeds from Shine the Light on Hunger benefitted
Food Bank for the Heartland and will provide thousands of meals
to children, families and seniors in Nebraska and western Iowa who
are in need.
Top Food Donors Help Feed Those in
Need in Nebraska and Western Iowa
Food Bank for the Heartland receives generous donations of food
every day from supporters in the community: truckloads from our
manufacturing and retail partners, fresh produce from local producers
and nonperishable items collected at food drives. Many supporters
contribute to the Food Bank's mission of serving the hungry in
Nebraska and western Iowa.
The Food Bank wishes to recognize some of the largest food donors
year-to-date through October:
Wal-Mart (top retailer)
Tyson (top manufacturer)
Affiliated Foods Midwest
First Data food drive
Garden Fresh Vegetables
Hormel Foods
Michael Foods
Mi Mams’s Tortillas
No Frills
Omaha Steaks
Rotella’s Italian Bakery
Trader Joe's
Wenninghoff Farms