NOVA Reaches Out - Dunk Hunger Summer 2013

The Virginia Swim Shop i
s a title sponsor of the Dunk Hunger Food & Funds Drive for the Central Virginia Food Bank. Read more about this amazing effort…

The Virginia Swim Shop Helps Dunk Hunger
While many of us found ourselves relaxing and enjoying the summer, thousands of others in the area were worried about how to consistently feed their families. With no school breakfast or lunch available, summertime can be even more stressful for many of them. A recent study by Feeding America showed that up to 14% of Central Virginians, including over 50,000 children, struggle with food insecurity. That’s where Dunk Hunger comes in. For those of you who are not familiar with the Dunk Hunger Food & Funds Drive, it is designed to collect food and raise money to support the Central Virginia Food Bank (CVFB) in their efforts to feed those in need in 31 counties and five cities in Central Virginia. CVFB is part of FeedMore, Inc., which serves the area through the food bank as well as Meals On Wheels.
This past summer, for the second year in a row, the Virginia Swim Shop supported Dunk Hunger in a big way. Along with Richmond Family Magazine, NOVA's in-house store helped organize and run the event as a presenting sponsor. During Dunk Hunger, area swim teams and community pools join together to help collect canned goods and/or money to support the drive. The Swim Shop effort begins with ramping up awareness for the event through the more than 35 summer league teams that the shop outfits. Swim Shop representatives provide posters, registration information and any needed support to the summer team contacts.

Dunk Hunger was started in the summer of 2012, when Richmond Family Magazine publisher Margaret Thompson and the Virginia Swim Shop’s Nancy Pappas decided to dream up a program to support CVFB. Nancy Pappas said, "Dunk Hunger is such an easy and visible way to make people aware of the food bank's summer needs.  The collection boxes are at the pools, where a huge number of people see them each day. We have been involved with the program since its inception and have been amazed at the generosity we have seen. We can't wait to see how it grows next year."
During the inaugural year, the effort by a small number of pools brought in the equivalent of 17,634 meals. The first winner was the Wyndham Tidal Waves. This summer, the two-month drive included more pools and raised the equivalent of 30,156 meals, an increase of 71%! This year's winner was the Canterbury Recreation Association (who lost by just $1 last year), and second place went to The Dominion Club. Canterbury donated the equivalent of 6,956 meals this year. NOVA’s own McSorley family (mom Catherine and swimmers Caitlin and Jack) led Canterbury’s effort. Catherine said, “Dunk Hunger provided a terrific opportunity for our pool members to work together to make a difference in the local community, while adding another dimension to swim team.”

The Virginia Swim Shop sponsorship donation provided the winning team with a fun poolside celebration for their swimmers that included food, drinks, entertainment and a recognition banner to display at their pool. The Swim Shop also collected the fun stuff from the sponsors for the “swag bags” that were given to the winning team members. Canterbury families enjoyed a party on August 14th with food from Firehouse Subs, music from Radio Disney and entertainment from Zero Gravity. The remaining $500 dollars of the Swim Shop sponsorship went directly to CVFB.

This year’s Dunk Hunger drive was the fifth largest food drive of the summer, and it will probably end up in the top 20 efforts for the fiscal year for CVFB. “We are excited to see this summer program grow by leaps and bounds, especially at a time when the Food Bank is in such need,” said Brenda Miller with FeedMore, Inc.

NOVA swimmers already know that teamwork is an important part of swimming. By working with area pools and summer leagues, The Virginia Swim Shop has shown that teamwork can accomplish great things out of the pool as well.