Pictured above from l. to r.: Allen Matheney, VP of Retail Operations Cookeville region; Ben Rodgers, PEP Foundation Treasurer; and Steven Back, Director of Retail Operations Cookeville region.

PEP Foundation’s BackPack Program provides food to over 760 students weekly in the Putnam County School System

Cookeville – Feeding the Future, a nonprofit created by Five Star Food Service, recently presented the Putnam Education Partnership (PEP) Foundation with a significant donation for its BackPack Program. 

The $6,600 check was awarded to the organization treasurer, Ben Rodgers, at a company golf tournament at Southern Hills Golf Club in September. 

“Feeding hungry children has become a big part of our “why.” We have over 600 employees, several locally, who donate via payroll deduction every two weeks. We raise money to donate to food banks and other organizations within Five Star’s service footprint, which includes Cookeville,” said C.J. Rechter, vice president of Marketing for Five Star Food Service. 

Rechter says Five Star’s service area stretches from Dayton, OH, to New Orleans, Savannah and to most cities between. 

“We’ve raised and donated almost $200k to the two food banks that serve Cookeville and the surrounding area. Overall, we’re nearing $1M total impact since 2017,” continued Rechter.

The PEP Foundation’s BackPack Program provides food to over 760 students weekly in the Putnam County School System (PCSS). The program provides food bags for students experiencing food insecurity to take home on the weekend when meals may not be readily available, hoping that students can focus on their education and not survival. 

“We were overjoyed to hear we would receive funding from Feeding the Future and Five Star Food,” said PEP Foundation Director Katelyn Steakley. “With rising food costs, funding is tight, and the donation could not have arrived at a better time. We appreciate the efforts Feeding the Future is putting toward ending child hunger. This donation is helping us inch closer to our program becoming fully funded, and we hope this contribution inspires other individuals or organizations to give as well.” 

To learn more about how you can help the PEP Foundation or The BackPack Program, visit www.peptn.org

Photo courtesy of PCSS.

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Ron Moses is the managing editor of the Upper Cumberland Business Journal and can be reached via email. Send an email.

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