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Friday, April 20 News

Organization helps fill gap in supplying nutritional meals

Filling in the Blanks, a nonprofit organization that helps supply nutritional meals, has been named "Rookie of the Year" by the Young Women's League of New Canaan.

Filling in the Blanks provides food over the summer for kids whose families receive a weekend's supply in a backpack from the local chapter of Blessings in a Backpack. The two organizations support DOMUS and Trailblazers Academy in Stamford as well as Bedford Hills Elementary School in Westchester County.

Tina Kramer and Shawnee Knight started volunteering with Blessings in a Backpack in 2013. As soon as they realized that the program took a hiatus at the end of each school year, they knew that the kids would miss out on regular nutritious meals over the summer.

Wanting the children to be fed properly year-round, they implemented Filling in the Blanks, which will be a recipient of a grant by the YWL.

Kristin Thomas, charity research chairman for the YWL, said, "We knew they were dedicated and driven to really change the lives of these children. They embody this year's giving theme, `Help a Child ... Change the Community,' so we knew we had to create a new designation for them. They became our `Rookie of the Year.' "

At the New Canaan headquarters of Filling in the Blanks, Kramer and Knight, in addition to collecting food and filling backpacks, get community service groups involved. They make deliveries and actively seek nonperishable food and monetary donations. Among their donors are Delta, USI, Point 72, Pepsi, Diamond Foods and Hain Celestial.

The YWL's "Couture for a Cause," which takes place Friday, May 9, at the Loading Dock in Stamford, raises the funds to support the grants issued by the organization. Kramer and Knight are among the models in the fashion show. Proceeds will be distributed to other grant recipients designated by the YWL including STAR, Inspirica and buildOn.

For tickets or information, visit www.ywlnewcanaan.org.