New Hampshire Food Bank kicks off 2017 'Nothing' can campaign
By KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent
BEDFORD — Aiming to eliminate hunger in the Granite State, residents are being urged to purchase empty cans — a fundraising effort hoping to collect more than $500,000 to feed the needy.
On Tuesday, the New Hampshire Food Bank kicked off its 2017 Nothing Campaign, stressing the importance of fighting hunger and raising awareness about food insecurities.
According to Eileen Liponis, executive director of the New Hampshire Food Bank, nearly 140,000 residents, including 41,350 children, do not know where their next meal is coming from.
“With thousands of residents still going hungry, we have much more work to do — making the Nothing Campaign all the more critical,” Liponis said during a kick-off event Tuesday at Hannaford Supermarket on Kilton Road.
Throughout the rest of April and the entire month of May, 98 participating grocery stores will be selling empty cans for $5 each. All of the money raised will be used to provide more than one million meals for those in need.
“There is some real, real need out there,” Gov. Chris Sununu said on Tuesday while purchasing four cans of nothing at the local grocery store.
The statistics show that one in nine people in New Hampshire are food insecure, according to Sununu, adding the Nothing Campaign is an important mission for the state.
Some of those individuals struggling with hunger include children who will soon be home for the summer and will no longer have access to free or reduced meals as they do during the school year, he said.
Last year, the Nothing Campaign raised more than $100,739 and was able to provide more than 201,478 meals, according to the New Hampshire Food Bank.
This year’s campaign will exceed those numbers, said an optimistic Joe Carelli, president of Citizens Bank in New Hampshire and Vermont — one of the partners in the fundraising campaign.
He is hopeful that $500,000 in donations will be collected throughout the next several weeks.
“No one person or organization can solve a problem like hunger,” said Carelli, adding it takes many hands to purchase nothing and really do something.
This is the fifth year of the Nothing Campaign, which was originally launched in 2013 by the New Hampshire Food Bank and Citizens Bank to spread awareness about food insecurity.
Cans of nothing are now available at all New Hampshire Hannaford, Harvest Market, Shaw’s and Market Basket locations, as well other grocers.
Carelli is encouraging individuals who purchase an empty can to bring it to their place of employment to collect more donations that can be given to the New Hampshire Food Bank.
“Everyone can make a difference,” agreed Liponis. “No amount is too small. Every contribution makes a difference.”