Posted: Jan 07, 2018 3:29 PM CST Updated: Jan 07, 2018 9:42 PM CST
MANKATO , MINN. -Feeding Our Communities Partners had their fifth annual "Climb 2 Feed Kids" event on Sunday.
The organization's largest fundraiser was held in Minnesota State University- Mankato's Bresnan Arena.
The group's Executive Director Sheri Sander-Silva said they chose a large goal this year, but for a specific reason.
"We have set a goal of $100,000 or more and the reason we selected that goal is that, if successful, it will fund exactly half of our food budget for the entire year," said Sander-Silva.
The fundraiser featured 53 teams, which was seven more than last year. There were several sponsors as well, including Bounce Town, who sponsored this year's Kids' Zone.
Feeding Our Communities Partners Communications Manager Holly Dodge said the group was excited about the newer teams.
"You know with our programs expanding to the middle school population, we have the middle schools here," said Dodge. "So we're just really excited to see a lot of different community members engaged here."
Dodge said she hopes all children walked away from the event, with a lesson on the importance of philanthropy.
Organizers wanted to stress to the public that, events like this are a community effort, and that there is much more to be done.
"We just know that we can't do this work alone and this event just showcases that perfectly," said Sander-Silva.
Each team's goal is to raise a minimum of $1,000 to contribute towards the fundraiser's overall goal.
click for full link
Posted by Joe Steck | May 7, 2017
NORTH MANKATO, MINN. — The BackPack Food Program, an initiative of Feeding Our Communities Partners (FOCP) is hosting a premier fundraiser in June that promises an evening of grilled fare, fine spirits, and live entertainment all while supporting the important work of FOCP. The fundraiser’s name sums it up perfectly: Beer, Brats and Bourbon for BackPack.
This new event will showcase exclusive bourbon cocktails created by Pub 500, craft beer by the Mankato Brewery, fresh brats by Hy-Vee and live entertainment by local alt-folk band The Porchlights. Guests will also receive a limited-edition pint glass with custom art created by area artists.
“We look forward to hosting this new event onsite at the BackPack Central warehouse. It is a special opportunity to welcome the community into our unique work space to learn more about our work to alleviate childhood hunger within the greater Mankato community.” shares Executive Director, Sheri Sander-Silva.
In addition to the transformed warehouse space, there will also be an extended outdoor lounge and game area for attendees to enjoy.
“The evening will have many fun surprises to keep guests entertained and engaged” promises Holly Ahlbrecht, Communications Manager.
The fundraiser proceeds will directly benefit the BackPack Food Program which discreetly provides over 900 elementary students with packs of child-friendly and nutritious food to be consumed over weekends and school breaks. The goal is to provide youth with adequate nutrition as fuel for ultimate performance in school, activities and life.
Beer, Brats and Bourbon
June 22, 2017, 6:30 pm – 10:30pm
BackPack Central, 2120 Howard Drive West, North Mankato
click here for link to article
Posted May 5, 2017
By Robb Murray, Mankato Free Press
1. What does community engagement mean to you? Is it important?
Community engagement is incredibly important to the work and success of nonprofits. FOCP would not have the reach and immense impact that it does without the involvement of many volunteers, businesses and other agencies. My gratitude for this involvement, is what compels me to engage in other initiatives and causes as well. We are always stronger when working together.
2. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
There was no question. I had always wanted to be a teacher. A passion for positive youth development is something ingrained in me. There is no greater work, in my mind. I will always be involved in youth work in one way, shape or form and have found volunteer opportunities that fill my heart in this way. This community has several amazing programs for youth and a plethora of opportunities for mentors.
3. What do you do when you’re not busy making the world a better place?
While coaching the pilot season of Girls on the Run (in 2009), I unexpectedly fell in love with running. Now, hitting the pavement with my running buddies is a weekly requirement. Embarking on one of our running adventures is easily one of my favorite things to do. It’s also not a secret that I’m a bit obsessed with our two Catahoula Leopard dogs. I spend a lot of time with them, outdoors. I also enjoy cooking, baking, reading, crafting and absolutely anything that requires creativity.
4. Why have you made Mankato part of your professional life?
I began working for the YWCA Mankato in my early 20’s and it was through that organization that I learned the true merit and awesomeness of nonprofits. The more that I got involved in this community, the more I wanted to be involved.
For a while, my husband and I had talked about moving to Chicago. Through countless conversations, we continued to circle back to the same realization. This is home. There is something very special about Mankato and it cannot be summed up in my allotted word count.
5. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Ultimately, I hope to have worked myself out of my current position knowing that through collaborations with other local agencies, the issues of hunger and food-insecurity within our community will have been diminished. Now, I understand that issues such as these do not just vanish overnight … or in 10 years. But, it is most definitely something to work toward.
6. Favorite thing about the Mankato area?
There are so many things that I appreciate about the Mankato area. The trails, parks, rivers and lakes are easily accessible and well-maintained. We have an incredible school system, healthy business and nonprofit sectors and support for entrepreneurship, which is really exciting to see.
But my favorite thing about the Mankato area is, what I hope to be, the shared sense of commitment to making this a healthy and safe place for to all to live and grow.
7. Who inspires you?
My mother was one of the most selfless, caring and compassionate people I have ever known. She also exuded unwavering strength in the most difficult of situations. We lost her to cancer when I was 13 years old. My father is an incredibly hard-working, driven and loving person. The inspiration gained from each has created a balance in who I have become. I strive to be even a fraction of what I admire in them each day.
8. If you could have an hour with anyone who has ever lived, who would it be and why?
There are so many that I admire. My answer to this question could change on any given day at any given hour. Today, I would say Malala Yousafzai. Need I explain? Conviction matched with persistence and poise, she is a force. She is a shining example of what passion and courage can achieve.
9. If you were trapped on a desert island with a somehow-functioning turntable, what album would you want on that turntable and why?
How I Got Over, The Roots.
The song “The Fire” (Featuring John Legend) is my anthem. I cue it up when I need a boost or just want to relish in a moment. It’s on every marathon mix that I make and has gotten me through several challenges, large and small.
Oh shoot. Wait … Scratch that. The album I absolutely could not live without would be DJ Shoba’s new instrumental beat tape. It is 48 minutes of classic 90s-style hip hop beats (to be released next month). Lol. Really, though. My husband’s pretty amazing.
Robb Murray is the Features Editor for The Free Press. He can be reached at 344-6386 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Robb on Twitter @FreePressRobb
click for direct link
Posted: Mar 03, 2017 11:58 AM CST
NORTH MANKATO, Minn. -Feeding Our Communities Partners has launched a pilot program to help middle school students who are food insecure.
An extension of their Backpack Food Program for elementary students, the Power Pack Program started this past fall at Dakota Meadows Middle School as a trial run.
Delivered weekly to the school, the pack includes high protein and fiber items students can eat between school and extra–curricular or on the weekends.
Unlike the Backpack Food Program, where the meals are delivered to the students, Power Pack relies on the students picking up their bagged food.
FOCP Program Manager Nicole Swanson said, "In interviewing some of the students, they wanted to be empowered... they wanted to take the responsibility.
They're a little bit older. So, we had to change the pack itself, and we had to change how we implement it. They really want to be responsible for taking that themselves."
Currently, the pilot program is serving about 35 students.
Swanson says there are a lot of factors to look at before they can decide on expanding.
FOCP worked with area leaders, schools and students for about a year and a half to develop this new initiative.
--KEYC News 12
click for full link
Posted: Dec 19, 2016 1:29 PM
Feeding Our Communities Partners (FOCP) will be distributing more than 800 boxes of food to students in the area this week for their annual Winter Feed and Read. The boxes of food will be given to students who are enrolled in BackPack Food Program, which ensures that food insecure children have adequate food during weekends and school breaks.
The winter break box contains a variety of nutritious, easy-to-prepare and child-friendly breakfasts, lunches and snacks, as well as a menu to help children make a balanced meal each day of the 12 day break. Boxes will have shelf stable foods, a loaf of bread, fresh fruit and vegetables, yogurt, cheese, as well as a voucher for milk and fruit juice.
Funding for this event is provided by Mayo Clinic Health System. Additional support and in-kind services provided by the City of North Mankato, Coughlan Company, Angie’s Boom Chicka Pop, Locher Brothers, Child’s World Books, Mackin Books, Creekside Boutique, and Blue Earth Taxi Service.
“Mayo Clinic Health System is proud to support the BackPack Food Program’s distribution of nutritious food for the winter break. Our employee volunteers know this is an important way that we can help reduce stress on families this time of year and make sure that kids in our community continue to have access to healthy food.” - Chaun Cox, M.D., Family Medicine physician at Mayo Clinic Health System
Students will also be able to select new books to take home, thanks to Delta Kappa Gamma (DKG), a women educator’s organization, who first organized the book program for FOCP in 2013. Popular, well-known books are selected by the children’s librarian at the North Mankato Taylor Library and are purchased through funds DKG raises throughout the year. Employees from Coughlan Company will entertain students with live readings on both days.
Winter Break box distribution is December 20th from 8:30am to 4pm and again on December 21st from 8:30am to 6pm at Feeding Our Communities Partners, 2120 Howard Drive West, Suites F & G, North Mankato. Free transportation will be provided to and from FOCP by Blue Earth Taxi Service.
-KEYC News 12
click for full link
Posted by Joe Steck Nov 18, 2016
MANKATO, MINN. — Hy-Vee and Minnesota 93 radio are partnering to sponsor an in-store donation program that benefits the BackPack Food Program.
The BackPack Food Program discreetly provides low-income students with packs of child-friendly meals to take home for weekends and school breaks. Launched in March 2010, enrollment currently exceeds 900 students at 15 schools in Blue EarthCounty.
Beginning Monday, November 21 at both Mankato Hy-Vee locations, shoppers are encouraged to purchase pre-packaged bags to donate to the BackPack Food Program. Each bag contains $5 worth of grocery items approved by the program’s nutritionists. Bags will be available at Riverfront Hy-Vee and at Hilltop Hy-Vee through January 2, 2017.
Nicole Swanson, Program Manager, said, “The donation program decreases our need to purchase food. Last year we received over 600 bags of food through the Hy-Vee/Minnesota 93 donation program.” These donations help decrease the need to purchase food for the BackPack Food Program and allow the program to grow. This year’s goal is to sell 850 bags of food.
About Feeding Our Communities Partners: FOCP is a nonprofit organization focused on ending hunger locally. With a mission of optimizing collaboration and developing initiatives to decrease hunger, FOCP directs the BackPack Food Program,
For more information or to volunteer, visit: www.FeedingOurCommunitiesPartners.org
click here for article link
MANKATO, MN (June 8, 2016) – Feeding Our Communities Partners (FOCP) is pleased to welcome Sheri Sander-Silva as its new executive director. Sander-Silva joins the organization after serving as associate director of the YWCA, where she worked for the past 14 years.
“I have long admired the work of FOCP and the important role it serves within our community,” said Sander-Silva. “I am incredibly excited to join the organization in serving its mission to end hunger locally. I look forward to continuing the momentum that has already been built by this amazing organization to create lasting social change.”
Sander-Silva is an experienced non-profit leader with over a decade of proven experience in building and sustaining quality programming that fulfills unmet community needs. In her most recent role at the YWCA, she managed organizational operations, finances, marketing, human resources, fundraising activities, and programming for girls.
FOCP runs the BackPack Food Program which discreetly provides low-income students with packs of well-balanced, child-friendly meals to take home for weekends and other scheduled days off from school. “We are so pleased to have Sheri on board,” said incoming board chair, DeeDra Vosburg. “Her skill set and passion for doing good in the community are sure to be a winning combination for FOCP.”
Sander-Silva has developed and directed several programs and led the integration of the national Girls on the Run and Girls Inc. programs into the Greater Mankato community. She is the current board chair of Leisure Education for Exceptional People (LEEP), is a board member of Project for Teens (P4T) and Dream Closet, serves on several committee/focus groups, and actively volunteers for other area organizations. One of Sheri’s favorite mottos is “Do what you love and love what you do.”
Sander-Silva will begin her new role at FOCP in mid-July.
MANKATO, MN (June 3, 2016) - Archer Daniels Midland Company recently donated $6,000 to Feeding Our Communities Partners (FOCP). The donation will go toward funding the BackPack Food Program.
”This kind of support allows us to feed hungry tummies on the weekend so that teachers can feed their minds on Monday morning,” said Kristin Weeks-Duncanson, FOCP board chair. “This grant helps us to maintain the program and to be a source of hunger-relief for the students who rely on it.”
The BackPack Food Program discreetly provides low-income students with packs of well-balanced, child-friendly meals to take home for weekends and scheduled school breaks. Launched in March 2010, enrollment currently exceeds 940 students at all fifteen public elementary schools in Blue Earth County and North Mankato. During the 2015-16 school year, the program was able scale its reach to include the three additional school districts of Mapleton, St. Clair, and Lake Crystal.
The donation was given through ADM Cares. ADM Cares is a social investment program that directs funds to initiatives and organizations that drive meaningful social, economic and environmental progress worldwide. The program comprises three distinct focus areas: supporting the responsible development of agriculture, improving the quality of life in ADM communities and fostering employee giving and volunteer activities.
Thanks to the Mankato Clinic Foundation, Feeding Our Communities Partners (FOCP) is receiving $5,000 to be used for the BackPack Food Program.
“This funding is essential to sustaining the program that our community has helped to build,” said Kristin Weeks-Duncanson, board chair for Feeding Our Communities Partners. “We are meeting the needs of local, hungry kids every week and grants like this help to fund that process. When we bring this program to a school, we do so with the promise that we are there to stay. The Mankato Clinic Foundation is helping us keep that promise with this funding.”
Currently, the BackPack Food Program provides a weekend’s worth of well-balanced, easy-to-prepare meals and snacks to over 940 students in all fifteen elementary schools in Blue Earth County and North Mankato. Volunteers assemble ziptop bags with breakfast, lunch and snacks and then deliver the food packs to schools every Thursday. Teachers discreetly distribute the food packs to students on Fridays. Food packs are also provided for extended school breaks such as Winter Break and Spring Break. Over the course of the school year, the program provides approximately 210 meals and 105 snacks to each participating student.
The Mankato Clinic Foundation provides resources to organizations and endeavors that effectively promote and improve community health and wellness. Since the primary focus of the Foundation is to support the health and well-being of the community, projects and programs supported include education and scholarship initiatives focused on health care, health education and wellness.
The physicians at the Mankato Clinic provide the majority of the Foundation funding as a means to give back to the community by providing support to organizations which strive to improve health and wellness. Grants are awarded on a quarterly basis and are considered only through the application process. Applications can be obtained at mankatoclinic.com.
About the Mankato Clinic Foundation: The mission of the Mankato Clinic Foundation is to encourage and support the health and well-being of our community through initiatives that promote and improve community wellness. Annual initiatives made possible by the Mankato Clinic Foundation include community grants, scholarships for students pursuing careers in health, Project Kindness and Partnership in Health in Greater Mankato schools.
MANKATO, MINN. — Climbers at the third annual Climb 2 Feed Kids fundraiser at Bresnan Arena on the campus of Minnesota State University raised $47,982.32 for the Back Pack Food Program. Read the full Mankato Times article here.