The votes are in: Upshur County wins $25,000 State Farm grant to help feed county kids

BUCKHANNON – The Foundation for Better Schools in Upshur County has received $25,000 for their Go Wild, Feed a Child backpack program after winning a recent State Farm online contest.

During a surprise announcement at Union Elementary School on Wednesday morning, State Farm agent Kelley Tierney said the insurance provider’s Neighborhood Assist program helps non-profit organizations support their communities.

“Each year 2,000 nonprofit organizations from across the country submit applications, seeking funding for respective causes from the Neighborhood Assist program,” Tierney said. “The top 200 finalists are determined by the State Farm Review Committee and then compete for the popular vote and a chance to be awarded a grant.”

During 10 days of online voting last month, 125,000 people cast more than 3 million votes for different causes. After the voting ended, 40 communities in 18 states were eligible for grants, including Upshur County’s Foundation for Better Schools.

From left to right: Kelley Tierney, Jen Kesling, the Good Neigh-Bear, Vanessa Perkins, Sara Stankus, Eddie Vincent, Kenna Leonard and Don Nestor.

“We want to be there for the communities our agents serve, identifying and helping to address issues faced every day by individuals and nonprofit organizations working in their local neighborhoods — nonprofits like the Foundation for Better Schools in Upshur County,” Tierney said. “Today we’re all here to celebrate the Foundation for Better Schools, and to highlight their work through the Go Wild, Feed a Child backpack program in fighting the hunger crisis faced by many Upshur County students.”

The backpack program has provided food to more than 50 percent of all Upshur County students; over 1,800 children rely on the program for their weekend food needs.

“Today, State Farm and the Foundation for Better Schools in Upshur County are embarking on a journey that will have a positive impact on Upshur County and our students who experience food shortfalls,” Tierney said. “I’m excited to say, Upshur County, you did it — the Foundation for Better Schools in Upshur County is a 2021 State Farm Neighborhood Assist winner.”

Vanessa Perkins, a member of Foundation for Better Schools in Upshur County, thanked Tierney for all her work.

“On behalf of the Foundation for Better Schools, we would like to thank State Farm and Kelley Tierney for all that she does for our school,” Perkins said. “A lot of people don’t know this, but Kelley does a lot for Upshur County schools through her State Farm programs. This funding is what helps provide you with backpacks, and we’re pleased, honored and it’s a privilege for us to be here today and accept this.”

Sara Stankus, superintendent for Upshur County Schools, thanked the community for voting every day.

“This was truly a community effort,” Stankus said. “When Upshur County decides to do something, to raise $25,000 for our backpack program, that’s what we do. We come together for the good of our community, so I just want to thank everyone who voted.”

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