Catherine Whicker’s childhood home was a trailer near a set of Indiana railroad tracks.
Whicker, her two siblings and her single mother relied on governmental aid to put food in their stomachs and sometimes didn’t even have water to drink because of rust.
“We had to go to school with dirty hair and dirty clothes,” Whicker said. “A lot of times we struggled with having enough food. There are a lot of families that struggle like this.”
Whicker, who now works with Blessings in a Backpack, spoke to dancers about her experiences with food insecurity and the kind of impact the primary beneficiary has on children. The organization provides weekend meals to students who would otherwise not necessarily have food for 65 hours.
“You’re giving kids like me a chance,” Whicker said. “You’re giving hunger-free weekends and a chance for a better life.”
As DM came to a close, the finance committee revealed this year’s grand fundraising total: $1,201,216. The total surpassed last year’s fundraising mark of $1,130,979, but fell short of 2014’s record of $1,385,273.
A check for $920,057 was presented to Blessings in a Backpack — the second-largest donation to a primary beneficiary ever. As the final number was revealed, dancers broke into tears, hundreds of balloons fell from the ceiling and a live, acoustic version of “Save the World” by Swedish House Mafia played.
Evanston Community Foundation, DM’s secondary beneficiary for the 19th consecutive year, received a check of $102,228.
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