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Foundation awards $15,000 to Backpack Program


Citizen Advocates was awarded a $15,000 grant from the Joy in Childhood Foundation, which is dedicated to bringing the simple joys of childhood to kids battling hunger or illness.  This is the third time Citizen Advocates has successfully applied for and received grant funding from the Foundation.

Entirely all of the funds from the grant will support the Citizen Advocates Backpack Program, which provides healthy meals on the weekend to eligible students in grades kindergarten through six during the academic year.  The two previous grant awards were for $10,000 each.

“First and foremost, we are deeply grateful to the Joy in Childhood Foundation for once again providing this generous support to the Backpack Program,” said James Button, CEO of Citizen Advocates.  “It also goes without saying that this funding for initiatives like the Backpack Program is needed now more than ever with many of the solidly reliable safety nets stretched thin due to the ongoing public health emergency.”

During the previous school year, roughly 550 children were provided 34,100 meals throughout five school districts in northern Franklin County. This was made possible by 52 program volunteers who donated a combined 2,400 hours of their time.

While the grant award from Joy in Childhood Foundation is significant, it represents a small portion of the Backpack Program’s total annual operating budget of $70,000.  Normally, Citizen Advocates relies on the Taste of Malone Dinner as a major fundraiser for the program in October.  However, the decision was made to pause the fundraiser this year out of an abundance of caution due to COVID-19. 

In lieu of attending the dinner, individuals are encouraged to send a donation of any amount to the “Citizen Advocates Backpack Program,” PO BOX 608, Malone, NY 12953.  Corporate sponsors or individuals with questions can contact Joe Riccio at 518-651-2760 or e-mail

To learn more about the Joy in Childhood Foundation, visit