Nearly 1,700 Food and Hygiene Items Collected to Help Restock Food Pantries and Reduce Food Insecurity
WATERTOWN — The Northern New York Community Foundation’s LEAD Council is pleased to announce the winners of its first “Canstruction for Northern New York” contest to help reduce food insecurity across the North Country.
The three top teams combined to collect 1,665 canned food and other nonperishable food items or hygiene products that will help restock two school-based backpack programs and a community food pantry. Additionally, the winning teams will share $1,750 in grant awards to present to three different local nonprofit organizations that participants selected.
With nearly 400 votes cast, Katie Blunden’s General Brown High School statistics class is the “People’s Choice Award” winner for “The Giving Tree.” The class also won the “Top Collection Award,” with an impressive 914 nonperishable food items collected.
“This project was an excellent opportunity for students to give back to their community while also showcasing their individual talents. I was blown away by their teamwork and creativity,” Mrs. Blunden said. “I have no doubt that this will have a long-lasting effect on my students while also greatly helping the General Brown Backpack program.”
The “Best Design Award” goes to Stage Notes for its “canstruction” of “An Evening at the Theatre.”
“Congratulations to General Brown and South Jefferson on their wonderful designs. Our students are thrilled; they loved the project idea. One of our students, Arianna Dyer from South Jefferson High School, suggested donating the items to the Rohde Center. All our students and families participated in collecting the items,” said Ticia Aumell, Stage Notes Artistic Director. “Through Stage Notes dedication to cultivating, promoting, and advocating for the arts in our community, we thought it fitting to choose Watertown Lyric Theater as the recipient of any grant money won through this project. Thank you to the LEAD Council for creating such a creative outreach opportunity for our students.”
Participating teams will donate all items used to build their sculptures to a local food pantry or backpack program. Each award winner will receive a $500 grant for participants to distribute to a nonprofit of their choice.
General Brown students designated the district’s backpack program to receive their collected items. Students also selected the backpack program as the recipient of two $500 grant awards they won for the “People’s Choice Award” and the “Top Collection Award.”
Stage Notes students designated the Rohde Community Center, Adams, to receive the 428 food items they collected and Watertown Lyric Theater as the recipient of a $500 grant for the “Best Design Award.”
South Jefferson High School and its LEAD and Sources of Strength students also entered a sculpture in the contest and will receive a $250 grant to award to a nonprofit it plans to select through a vote of the high school student body. The district’s backpack program will receive the 323 food items students collected.
“Canstruction for Northern New York” encouraged tri-county students to team up and build a fun, themed structure made of donated canned food and other nonperishable food items or hygiene products to support a local food pantry or backpack program of their choice and help reduce food insecurity across the region.
Participating students had a chance to support essential needs for local residents while learning values of community philanthropy and building school spirit around a project that made a meaningful difference in the lives of others. The project helped raise awareness about hunger and food insecurity in local communities and empowered students to collaborate and inspire their school and community.
About the LEAD Council
The LEAD Council was chartered in 2014 as advisory committee of the Northern New York Community Foundation empowered to identify and address strategic needs in Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties. The Council is comprised of 18 young professionals who live and work in the tri-county area with an interest in enhancing the quality of life for all in the North Country. LEAD is an acronym that reflects four important guiding principles of the Community Foundation’s work: Leadership, Engagement, Access, and Direction.
The Council works to gain a deeper understanding of community needs, issues, and the nonprofit sector to augment the Community Foundation’s mission and work. Since its inception, the LEAD Council has developed several creative initiatives to benefit the community and region. Strategic efforts include its “LEADing the Way” volunteer program, enhancements to child care and early childhood development programs, hyper-local support for anti-poverty initiatives, community giving challenges, and building philanthropic values in the region’s schools through student-led projects.
The LEAD Council and its grant program are supported through the thoughtful generosity of the Hyde-Stone Charitable Foundation of the Northern New York Community Foundation, Carthage Savings and Loan Association, Morgia Wealth Management, and donors to the Community Foundation’s Friends of the Foundation Annual Community Betterment Fund.
About the Northern New York Community Foundation
Since 1929, the Northern New York Community Foundation has invested in improving and enriching the quality of life for all in communities across Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties.
Through partnerships with businesses and organizations, charitable foundations, and generous families and individual donors, the Community Foundation awards grants and scholarships from an endowment and collection of funds that benefit the region. Its commitment to donors helps individuals achieve their charitable objectives now and for generations to come by preserving and honoring legacies of community philanthropy while inspiring others.
The Community Foundation is a resource for local charitable organizations, donors, professional advisors and nonprofit organizations. It also works to bring people together at its permanent home in the Northern New York Philanthropy Center to discuss challenges our communities face and find creative solutions that strengthen the region and make it a great place to live, work, and play.