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“Leader of the Pack” Challenge Benefits Southern Tier Kids


A total of 12 corporate teams combined to pack nearly 8,600 bags of food Thursday afternoon during the Food Bank of the Southern Tier’s annual Leader of the Pack Corporate Packing Challenge event. The 12 teams packed food to fill 8,592 BackPacks during the event. The packed bags of food will be distributed to schools to be taken home by children at risk of hunger on weekends and school breaks.

Team 2, one of two teams competing from marquee sponsor Wegmans, was fastest to pack 720 bags, completing the task in 43 minutes, 15 seconds.  The team from Tompkins Community Bank took second place with a time of 44:30, and the second team from Wegmans, Team 1, placed third at 44:33.

Additionally, each team raised funds for the Food Bank of the Southern Tier ahead of the event through online fundraisers. The most money was raised by the team from Mengel Metzger Barr, with a total of $4,167. Mengel Metzger Barr was also honored for its use of social media to promote the Food Bank and highlight Hunger Action Month.

Leader of the Pack began in 2019 and was changed to a semi-virtual event during COVID 19 restrictions before returning as a live event in September 2022. The event has become an annual tradition of friendly competition during Hunger Action Month.

This year’s corporate teams were: Chemung Canal Trust Company, Corning Inc, Dandy, Erie insurance, Cameron Manufacturing and Design, Mengel Metzger Barr, Wegmans, Tioga Downs, Tompkins Community Bank, Williams Toyota, and Yaw Automation.

One in six children in the Southern Tier are food insecure, and more than 39,000 children in the Southern Tier qualify for free or reduced-price meals at schools. Many children who receive free and reduced-price school meals are left without the nutrition they need on weekends and holiday breaks when school is not in session. The BackPack program looks to bridge that gap for these children. Nearly 81,000 BackPacks were distributed in 2022.

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