A recent study by Feeding America found that over 1,012,500 Virginians are considered “food insecure.” This represents a 54% increase since 2006. A large number of these individuals are children, senior citizens, disabled adults, and the new face of hunger—individuals who have lost their jobs and are having problems making ends meet. Summertime is typically one of the most challenging times for food banks in Virginia, especially with the number of children who are out of school and do not have access to before and after school feeding programs.
In response to this urgent need, Governor Bob McDonnell, The Virginia Chamber of Commerce, and the Federation of Virginia Food Banks joined efforts in 2012 to create the first Chamber of Commerce Challenge Food and Fund Drive—a food and fund drive competition among all Virginia Chambers of Commerce, their member businesses, and state government offices. In its first year, the Governor’s Bowl collected the equivalent of more than 740,000 pounds of food and grocery products.
In this friendly competition, the Chamber or government office that raises the most pounds of food will be awarded a prestigious and highly coveted “Governor’s Bowl” in the categories of small, medium, and large for Chamber offices and a special bowl for the top government office. As a new addition for 2013, there will be two awards per category, one for most pounds total, and one for most pounds per capita. This brings the total number of winners to 8, each of whom will receive a one-of-a-kind handmade bowl made by a Virginia potter.
- Buchanan County Chamber of Commerce (small): 17,694 pounds benefiting Feeding America Southwest Virginia
- Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce (medium): 105,315 pounds benefiting the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank
- Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce (large): 62,231 pounds benefiting FeedMore, Inc. (aka Central Virginia Food Bank)
- Virginia Board of Accountancy (State Agency): 514.38 pounds per person
Participating in the Governor’s Bowl Chamber of Commerce Challenge is easy. To get started, all you have to do is register online.
Once your Chamber Office is registered, the designated coordinator will be contacted by a representative of the food bank who will provide details and materials so that you can have a successful campaign! Individual businesses do not register here; register with your local chamber office.
If you are a State Agency, you will need to register your individual location. Each location within a larger department or agency will register separately, but their collected food and funds will be counted towards their state-wide agency competition. For example, department offices or agencies in many different cities or counties will each register, but their collected donations will be combined to determine the winning state-wide agency.