Golden Harvest won the grant from Wal-Mart’s Fighting Hunger Together Campaign. Throughout April, the food bank competed against 301 other agencies.
The 40 organizations that tallied the most votes on Facebook each won $45,000. Voting in the contest ended at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.
Midway through the monthlong contest, Golden Harvest was in 58th place. The food bank entered the final week in 48th place before finishing 13th with 3,314 votes, said Carolann Utley, a Golden Harvest communications manager.
The winnings will pay for 9,000 backpacks filled with food for Golden Harvest’s program that sends a backpack home with school children on Friday so they have meals over the weekend.
“People don’t want their neighbors to go hungry,” Utley said. “We’re all here to help each other and help each other succeed.”
A backpack filled with three pounds of food costs $5 per weekend, or $180 for a 36-week school year. Grant money that mostly funds the program has been declining recently, Utley said.
“This really saved the day,” she said. “We can serve more people in the community.”
Utley, who stayed up past the deadline to watch Golden Harvest win, said about 300 fewer votes would have eliminated Golden Harvest from the top 40.