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The “Care Box Challenge” and other COVID-19 fundraising efforts supporting Southern Wisconsin families raised $3.354 million during the campaign’s First 100 Days.

WMTV NBC15 and Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin launched the “Care Box Challenge” in a matter of days, in response to increased food insecurity due to school and business closures caused by COVID-19. A donation of $10 or more fills a “Care Box” with healthy, fresh food and other non-perishable staples for families facing food insecurity.

“I should never underestimate the generosity of our viewers,” said Don Vesely, vice president and general manager of WMTV NBC15. “Our goal of $1 Million seemed to be a stretch for a first-time fundraising effort. To finish more than three times our goal truly made an impact on our community.”

The campaign kicked off March 19 with a challenge—the first $25,000 raised was matched by the Alliant Energy Foundation. By Monday evening, March 23, the effort had raised $248,000 and the giving continued.

National Guardian Life, The Evjue Foundation and an anonymous donor also provided matches during the campaign’s First 100 Days, marked on June 26.

“The response that we’ve gotten from the public has been tremendous,” said Michelle Orge, president & CEO of Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin. “We are so grateful to NBC15 for playing such a critical role in helping the public understand that the need as a result of the pandemic was, and continues to be great. Their dedication to helping our community during this challenging time is one that all of us should aspire to achieve.” 

At launch time, Second Harvest staff anticipated that it would need to distribute 100,000 boxes of food over a 6-8 week period to those in need. The need exceeded that original estimate— 246,787 Care Boxes were distributed through June 26.

The number of neighbors who need help during this unprecedented time is greater than anticipated. To help those in need, donate directly at https://bit.ly/2W6aIZz.

Second Harvest Foodbank serves 16 counties and partners with more than 225 programs and agencies in Southern Wisconsin.

WMTV serves as south central Wisconsin’s NBC and CW affiliates, and is owned by Gray Television.

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