Benefits of Volunteering in the Local Community


It’s a special day for people at the 115 stations that make up the Nexstar family. Here at Nexstar Broadcasting, we are preparing to celebrate “Founders Day.”

On Friday, WETM will be one of the stations helping the local community by volunteering with the Food Bank of the Southern Tier and helping to beautify Elmira’s Downtown area. 

For an organization like the Food Bank, volunteers are vital to the work that go toward getting the 12 million meals needed to feed all our hungry neighbors around the region. 

“Last year we distributed about 8.1 million meals, so we have a significant way to go but I think we’re in position to be able to to meet that goal. And the only reason that I say this is because the Food Bank enjoys the support of the community,” said Natasha Thompson, the President and CEO of the Food Bank of the Southern Tier. 

But the Food Bank’s job is much more than distributing food to pantries in the 4,000 square mile area it serves, as the organization often finds ways to skip the middleman in order to reach the hungry. 

“One is our mobile food pantry program, where we take large quantities of food to mostly to rural and high need communities, we also operate the Backpack Program which provides kids, who have been identified as being at-risk of hunger, a bag full of kid-friendly, nutritious, easy-to-prepare foods,” said Thompson. 

Feeding hungry children is a top priority for the Food Bank, as 40,000 children in the Southern Tier live below the federal poverty line. And now that school is out for the summer, many may not have easy access to lunch and other meals. 

“We do help coordinate child hunger task forces in three counties that we serve where we organize our partners, school districts, other organizations to help address the issue of hunger over the summer time,” said Thompson. 

Volunteering is also something relied upon from small towns to big cities, in order to keep areas clean and beautiful. On Friday, volunteers will help spruce up Elmira’s Downtown area by painting aging planters around the area. 

“Our goal eventually, when we have the funding available, is to replace the planters and have one unified look. But right now we just want to basically add some more color and if we have to keep them for another two years until we get the funding, they will be on the street and add some beauty to the downtown district,” says Jennifer Herrick, the Executive Director of Elmira Downtown. 

Nexstar employees are known for giving back to their communities – and the company backs that commitment.

“With June 17 being our 20th anniversary, we set a goal of 20,000 hours of community service. The company will support that by giving every employee that registers five paid hours of time off to do service in the local communities,” Sook said.

That’s 20,000 hours and $20,000 to local charities distributed by Nexstar’s stations.

“So we asked each market to assess the needs and opportunities to serve the local community and each market decides where the dollars and donations will go,” Sook said.

Sook has always believed that serving the community should be at the heart of every Nexstar television station.

He hopes to make Founders Day an annual event.

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