Story by Steve Buchiere via Finger Lakes Times.

The economy may be on the mend, but there are still plenty of families in the region struggling to feed their children.

Newark Mayor Jonathan Taylor says his village is no exception.

“We’re not any different than any other community in the Finger Lakes,” said Taylor, who proclaimed Sept. 28 as Blessings in a Backpack Day in the village. Sept. 25 to 29 is designated as Blessings in a Backpack Week.

Taylor said it is the village’s way to acknowledge the work of the all-volunteer Newark organization, which provides backpacks full of food for 225 Newark students identified as living in homes facing food insecurity.

The backpacks are distributed on Fridays — or the last day of school for the week — to help ensure students have nutritious food for the weekends and holiday breaks.

The organization is in the midst of a canned soup drive and fundraiser. The goal is to collect 1,000 cans of soup and raise $1,000.

Leaders of the Newark Blessings in a Backpack program are Tanya Hasseler, Jill Nittolo, Chrissie Kent and Kelli Ransco.

Taylor encouraged the community to contribute to the cause and also lauded the Blessings group.

“We certainly are thankful for the people who donate their time and much-needed resources to the community,” he said. “These volunteers spend a tremendous amount of time. That’s one of the great things about our community.”

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