Local Business Group Donates to United Way’s NOW Program

Donation Will Provide Healthy Meals to 40 Area Children for the School Year

Submitted to FOCUS – Members of the Marshfield-based CentraNet Chapter of Business Network International (BNI) recently donated over $3,100.00 to the Marshfield Area United Way’s Nutrition on Weekends (NOW) program.

The NOW program is a collaborative, community effort to target childhood hunger. The program provides healthy, ready-to-eat nutritional foods for children during the weekend. The program was created in response to data collected from Marshfield students as part of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey. In 2012, 20% of students surveyed indicated he/she had gone to bed hungry at least once in the past thirty days because there was not enough food in the home.

Cheryl Sijbrandi, President of Badger Title, spearheaded the fundraising effort. She says the program helps those that really need it. “I care about kids and we need to support them. Kids aren’t old enough to help themselves,” she says.

A $78.00 donation sponsors weekend meals for one child for a year. Sijbrandi challenged CentraNet’s 35 members to support the program and was “blown away” when the group raised over 40 donations of $78.00.

“For us, as small businesses, that’s a significant amount. A lot of us in our group are just small (businesses),” Sijbrandi says.

NOW volunteers pack and deliver meals that include two peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, 2 cups low-sugar cereal, two pieces of fruit, baby carrots, cheese and two snack items.

Currently, students from Granton, Spencer, Marshfield, Auburndale, Greenwood, Loyal, Pittsville and Stratford participate in the program. 451 children were provided supplemental food packs during the 2016-17 school year, and the program expanded this school year.

Marshfield Area United Way Executive Director Paula Jero commented, “I was just amazed by the number of sponsorships that BNI provided for the NOW program. With the growing number of students in the program, their sponsorships really made a difference in helping us to feed the kids referred to us. I was so grateful for their support.”

CentraNet Chapter President Paul Knoff said the group hoped to raise awareness for the program. “No child should go hungry. This is a great program that helps kids fulfill the most basic of all needs.”

For more information about the NOW program, visit www.marshfieldareaunitedway.org.
With over 220,000 members in 8,000-plus chapters worldwide, BNI is the world’s leading referral organization. In 2016 alone, BNI member referrals generated $11.2 billion USD in revenue for our member businesses. The CentraNet Chapter meets Tuesday mornings at 7:30 a.m. in the basement of Pioneer Bank.