SOUTHERN TIER, N.Y., April 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Hunger relief efforts in the Southern Tier received a financial boost recently through a donation made to the Food Bank of the Southern Tier by Just Energy, a leading North American retailer of natural gas, electricity and green energy. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120416/FL87657LOGO) The company donated $5,000 towards the organization's Strengthening the Root of Local Hunger Relief capital campaign to expand food distribution for the BackPack™ Program, a child hunger relief program offered by the Food Bank. The program provides nutritious, easy‐to‐prepare food for school children over the course of the weekend, and aims to supplement the National School Lunch Program which provides food for children during the school week. "The goals of the Food Bank are ambitious and admirable and we are proud to do our part to support them," said Ken Hartwick, President and CEO of Just Energy. "We cannot overlook the fact that many people go without basic human needs such as food, shelter and warmth. We commend the Food Bank for their hard work and commitment to local hunger relief programs." According to the Food Bank, adequately serving hungry people in their six county Southern Tier service area requires distribution of 16.8 million pounds of food annually. Their capital campaign efforts, which include the recent acquisition and renovation of a larger facility, along with fundraising for program expansion such as the BackPack Program, will help to meet the increased demand. "We are very grateful to receive this donation which will help us expand our BackPack Program," said Natasha Thompson, Food Bank President and CEO. "The support from Just Energy will allow more Southern Tier children to participate," she added. During the 2010‐2011 school year, the Food Bank's BackPack Program served 19 school districts across the Southern Tier reaching more than 1,300 children each week.