Governor Bob McDonnell today joined Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and communities across Virginia in declaring September 15-29, 2013 as Days of Service. The regional Day to Serve effort, which began last year, will bring together members of the faith and non-profit community, Virginia's food banks, and engaged citizens to participate in service projects in their community, particularly those to fight hunger.
Additionally, Governor McDonnell announced the Day to Serve BackPack Rally as his initiative to support Day to Serve 2013. In conjunction with Day to Serve, all monetary donations made to the Federation of Virginia Food Banks during the month of September will go towards the BackPack Rally. The seven members of the Federation of Virginia Food Banks host weekend backpack programs during the school year to provide children in need with nutritious, filling meals and snacks for the weekend. 42% of Virginians served by Virginia's food banks are children, and 10,000 backpacks filled with food are distributed each week.
Speaking about Days of Service in Virginia, Governor McDonnell said, "Last year's Day to Serve was a tremendous success, and I trust this year's events will build on that success. I am continually inspired by the commitment and generosity Virginians show towards each other, each day but particularly through events like Day to Serve. I thank Elder Jack Gerard of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for bringing together these regional partners to make a real difference in our communities. I encourage all Virginians during the Day to Serve period to join me in donating their time, food, or funds in the fight against hunger."
Governor McDonnell continued, "The start of a new school year is a key window of opportunity for every student in Virginia. Students cannot reap the full potential of a great education without full stomachs and a balanced diet, and the weekend backpack programs organized by Virginia's food banks are critical to meeting that need. I ask that communities, organizations, and families come together to support and hopefully expand these programs in the future. I would also like to thank Mike Morrell, President of Performance Foodservice Virginia, for challenging other food service partners to participate in the Rally."
"We are honored to be a partner of the Day to Serve project and thank the Governor for his support of the BackPack Rally initiative, said Leslie Van Horn, Executive Director of the Federation of Virginia Food Banks. "The BackPack program is truly changing the lives of families in need across the Commonwealth of Virginia and provides nutritious and easy-to-prepare food to over 10,000 children over the course of the weekend. With your help, we can provide more."
A list of Day to Serve partners, projects and the Backpack Rally donation link can be found at: http://www.daytoserve.org/virginia. The Virginia Planning District Commission, all 21 of its regional Planning District Commissions, and numerous counties, cities and towns have passed or are scheduled to pass resolutions in support of Day to Serve.
Governor McDonnell's official proclamation of September 15-29, 2013 as Days of Service can be found here.
Governor McDonnell has long supported programs that help people in need put food on their table. In 2007, as attorney general, he spearheaded the "Statewide Legal Food Frenzy," a philanthropic competition among Virginia's legal community benefiting Food Banks statewide. In 2012 he announced the creation of the "Governor's Bowl" food and fund drive which partners with the Virginia Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Virginia Food Banks to challenge the business community to bring in food for its local food bank. That competition ran from Memorial Day to Independence Day, collecting food and funds during the summer months that typically see a drop-off in donations and a rise in need.