EVANSTON, IL, May 21, 2015 –– Blessings in a Backpack, a nonprofit organization providing weekend meals for food insecure elementary school students, has been selected as the primary beneficiary for Northwestern University Dance Marathon (NUDM) 2016. NUDM is the largest entirely student-run organization in the country, raising more than one million dollars for its beneficiaries in each of the past five years.

“Hunger controls the lives of 15.8 million children in this country, and we are beyond excited that NUDM has the opportunity to help change that,” said Arielle Miller, one of the NUDM 2016 Executive Co-Chairs. “When you consider that just $100 feeds a child for an entire year, you realize NUDM has the power to directly impact the overall health and academic performance of thousands of kids.”

Each Friday, more than 3,700 Blessings in a Backpack volunteers distribute bags of nutritious weekend food to children who depend on the federal Free and Reduced Price School Meals program during the week. Without the organization, these kids would go up to 65 hours without eating, thus affecting their physical and mental growth, well-being, and capacity to learn.

In Cook County alone, nearly 259,420 children live in food insecure households, making it the county with the fourth highest rate of child hunger in the nation. NUDM’s financial donations will first help expand existing Blessings in a Backpack programs in Evanston’s Haven Middle and Oakton Elementary schools, in addition to supporting the development of new program sites in other Evanston and Chicagoland schools for years to come. Beyond this local impact, a majority of donations will go toward creating new, sustainable Blessings in a Backpack programs across the country . Finally as Blessings in a Backpack continues to rapidly grow, NUDM’s gift will also help the organization recruit and train new volunteers, even specifically providing resources for Northwestern affiliated volunteers.

For the 19th year in a row, the Evanston Community Foundation will serve as NUDM’s secondary beneficiary, funding a variety of local grants.

NUDM 2016 will be held March 4-6, 2016 on the Norris East Lawn at 1999 Campus Drive.

About Blessings in a Backpack:

Blessings in a Backpack, a tax exempt 501(c)3 organization, is a leading childhood hunger organization that mobilizes communities, individuals and resources to provide food on the weekends for elementary school children across America who might otherwise go hungry. Since their founding in 2005, Blessings in a Backpack has grown to currently feed more than 76,000 children in 44 states and the District of Columbia. For more information visit www.blessingsinabackpack.org.

About Northwestern University Dance Marathon:

Now in its 42nd year, NUDM is one of the largest entirely student-run philanthropies in the nation. Since 1975, NUDM has raised more than $16 million for more than 30 different charities. Last year, NUDM raised over one million dollars for its fifth consecutive year in support of Starlight Children’s Foundation — an organization that partners with experts in healthcare, entertainment and technology to create a unique blend of family-centered services from hospital to home — and The Evanston Community Foundation. To learn more, visit www.nudm.org .

Contacts:
Kalli Koukounas & James Keane NUDM Marketing and Media Co-Chairs marketing@nudm.org
K: (551) 795-9799
J: (616) 970-1826