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8,234 POUNDS of food donated

Warren County School District (WCSD) students are the ultimate winners in this year’s business-to-business challenge.

The challenge partners this year included The Rouse Home, Times Observer, and Second Harvest Food Bank. Between the three, they got a total of 17 area businesses on board to collect non-perishable food to be distributed each weekend to those students in the WCSD whose families need extra nutritional help. Businesses began collecting food on Oct. 14 and delivered all they’d come up with to WCSD Central Office on Friday, Nov. 15.

The program discreetly distributes bundles each Friday to some of the district’s most nutritionally insecure students before they leave school for the weekend, providing them with nutritious foods through the weekend. Around 50 percent of the district’s students receive free or reduced school lunches, and food insecurity is a problem that a significant number of local students face regularly. Around 350 students receive Backpack Program food bundles each week, which totals around 27 percent of the WCSD elementary-age population. It takes around 57,000 pounds of food to feed that number of students for one academic year, so the business-to-business challenge is a way to collect as much food and monetary donations to the program as possible.

This year’s 17 participating businesses came together to donate a grand total of $4,804 and 8,234 pounds of food.

“We had an overwhelming turnout of support with our donors, volunteers, and staff,” said Rouse Home Life Enrichment Director Reyd Martin. “This year’s event was a major success.”

Representatives from Bollinger Enterprises, as well as Rouse Home staff and volunteers, helped receive and weigh the donations.

“We can’t thank everyone involved enough for all of their help,” Martin said.

Each year, challenge organizers add the total amount of food and money collected by each business and divide it by the number of employees to award a winner for highest percentage donated by a business in small business (up to 50 employees), medium business ( up to 150 employees), and large business (over 150 employees) categories.

For the fifth consecutive year, Maryann Paris from Presents and Posies in Sheffield took home the small business title, with a total of $554 raised and 170 pounds of food. Second and third place in the small business category were Icyy Ink with $250 collected and Warren Public Library with $1,000 raised and 130 pounds of food.

The medium business winner was TOPS of Warren, with 4,060 pounds of food collected. Second- and third-place winners for the medium business category were the Warren County Board of Realtors, with $480 raised and 184 pounds of food, and McKissock Learning with $555 raised and 141 pounds of food.

The large business winner was United Refining Company, with $906 and 1,831 pounds of food. Second- and third-place winners for the large business category were Targeted Pet Treats, with $120 and 292 pounds of food and Blair, with $764 and 559 pounds of food.

The remainder of this year’s business-to-business challenge donations included:

Bollinger Enterprises, with 109 pounds of food;

Jefferson DeFrees Center, with 252 pounds of food;

Rouse, with $75 and 71 pounds of food;

Woman’s Club of Warren, with 54 pounds of food;

ErieBank, with 77 pounds of food;

Superior Tire, with $100 and 141 pounds of food;

Darling’s Home Care, with 115 pounds of food;

Family Services of Warren County, with 48 pounds of food.

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