Shaler Area Backpack Initiative wins $25,000 State Farm Neighborhood Assist grant
Shaler Area Backpack Initiative is looking forward to making a bigger difference in students’ lives thanks to a $25,000 State Farm Neighborhood Assist grant.

The Shaler Area Backpack Initiative sends home more than 10,000 weekend bags of food each year to students in need. The program is entirely volunteer run and donation dependent. The $25,000 grant will ensure the ability to provide food for the entire school year to all applicants, in lieu of having to cap the enrollment. As well, it will now include healthier food items that currently are too expensive for the existing budget.

The community is invited to celebrate the Backpack Initiative program and being a State Farm Neighborhood Assist grant recipient with a special check presentation ceremony at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 18, in the Shaler Area Middle School auditorium.

“We are so appreciative for the entire community’s support of this program and everyone who voted for the Backpack Initiative,” said Mr. Sean Aiken, Shaler Area superintendent. “This money will help the volunteer teachers, students and community members who run the program reach so many more students in our district.”

Shaler Area Backpack Initiative is one of the top 40 vote-getting causes—and only Pennsylvania winner—that will receive the Neighborhood Assist grant to improve their communities.

State Farm Neighborhood Assist is a crowd-sourced philanthropic program that empowers communities to identify issues in their neighborhoods. The affiliated nonprofits of the top 40 causes will each receive a $25,000 grant to create and execute a plan to address the cause. A total of 72,000 people cast 1.8 million votes in an effort to bring a $25k grant to their neighborhoods.

“State Farm is here to help life go right in neighborhoods all across the country. We look forward to seeing the changes in these 40 communities because of these Neighborhood Assist grants,” said Kevin Slogick, State Farm agent in Allison Park. “I am so proud of the Shaler community.”

Of the 2,000 cause submissions that were received through State Farm Neighborhood Assist, at least one cause was received from every state in the U.S. Then, the State Farm Youth Advisory Board, a diverse group of 30 students who are passionate about social responsibility, reviewed the cause submissions and selected the 200 finalists to be voted on. In the five years of the program, 200 causes have received a total of $5 million to enact change in their communities.

For a complete list of the top 40 causes, please visit: www.neighborhoodassist.com.

Shaler Area's backpack program gets $25K grant
TribLIVE | Local article Dec. 12, 2016
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