Meal Reveal: Share Your Holidays 2022 tops its goal

SYH final meal reveal
Published: Jan. 12, 2023 at 6:15 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – There it is! Thanks to so many generous donors the 2022 NBC15 Share Your Holidays drive soared past its five million meal goal. All the food and monetary gifts have been tallied and the final total is in.

Over the course of the past twelve weeks, the people of southern Wisconsin came together to fight hunger in their hometowns and across the region and raised 5,370,814 meals.

“From babies to seniors, rising food costs increased the number of individuals needing assistance at local food banks. The generosity and support of our viewers come at a time when people truly need help,” WMTV-TV General Manager Don Vesely said.

The final total was revealed Thursday evening during NBC15 News at 6. Second Harvest President and CEO Michelle Orge joined John Stofflet and Leigh Mills during the show as the number of quickly ticked up to another goal-breaking campaign. This is the third straight year the annual drive topped five million meals, making a huge impact on the lives of so many people in southern Wisconsin.

“Everyone at Second Harvest is incredibly grateful for our long-standing partnership with NBC15 and their commitment to the work needed to end hunger,” Orge said. “Together, we’re turning the generosity of supporters and the dedication of a network of partner agencies and programs into millions of meals for those facing hunger in our community.

This year’s campaign peaked on December 14 when more than 200 volunteers descended on the Alliant Energy Center and the WMTV-TV studio to begin sorting the all the food that was donated so far and to take the calls from people still looking to give. On that day, more than 60,000 pounds of food was sorted by the 163 volunteers who gave an average of two hours to wading through all those items. Back at the station were 43 more people who answered nearly 1,700 calls from people wanting to give on that day alone.

One of those sitting by the phones that day was Barbara McKinney, the mother of Share Your Holidays co-founder Mike McKinney, who was at WMTV-TV taking some of the first calls of the day and picked up the very last call that night.

(from left) John Stofflet, Barb McKinney, Leigh Mills
(from left) John Stofflet, Barb McKinney, Leigh Mills(NBC15)

While so many caring people came through on that day alone, so many more opened their hearts throughout the entire final months of 2022. All of those 30+ tons of food had to come from somewhere and a bulk of that was from the more than 200 food drives that people gave their time to host and participate in. Piling up some of the biggest overall totals were (in alphabetical order) Edgewood High School, Epic Systems, ETV Middleton/Mazomanie, Fort Atkinson Middle School, and Hickory Hill Academy.

Those drives made huge difference – and a lot of work that the volunteers at Alliant Energy Center were happy to do – but they were not the only drives driving up the final meal total. Another 55 virtual food drives raised funds Second Harvest could use to provide up 25 meals for every $10 donated. Among those organizations raising the most in these online campaigns were Affiliated Engineers, Inc., Epic Systems, Potter Lawson + Friends, Movin’ Shoes Running Club, and UW Health.

“NBC15 Share Your Holidays would not be successful without our business sponsors and the thousands of individual donors,” Vesely added. “Their commitment to our community is astounding!”

correction: An earlier version of this story identified Fort Atkinson High School among the top overall donors. It should have read Fort Atkinson Middle School, and the story has been corrected. We apologize for the error.

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