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Backpack Buddies a winner
Online votes lead to $25K grant from State Farm
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Effingham County’s Backpack Buddies program will receive a $25,000 grant from State Farm Neighborhood Assist, following voting on social media.

More than 192,000 people took to Facebook and cast 6.2 million votes vying to bring a $25k grant to their neighborhoods. State announced the top 40 vote-receiving causes that will receive the grants to improve their communities.

State Farm Neighborhood Assist is a youth-led philanthropic program that empowers communities to identify issues in their neighborhood. The affiliated nonprofits of the top 40 causes will each receive a $25,000 grant to create and execute a plan to address the cause. Only two causes in Georgia made the top 40 vote-receiving causes.

BackPack Buddies, with 86,407 votes, supplies at-risk children in Effingham County with nutritious, self-serve food that will sustain them when school meals are not available.

The other Georgia grant recipient is a community playground in Pembroke.

The top 40 causes, representing 27 states from around the United States range from helping underprivileged kids to providing food to communities; a large majority of the causes will directly impact kids and young adults. Communities that will receive funding range in size from Gardiner, Maine, with a population of approximately 5,600, to New York City.

The record number of people who participated and voted in this year's program demonstrates the passion of the coastal empire to help with community issues,” said Sarah Clem, public affairs specialist for State Farm. “We look forward to seeing the change that will happen in these two Georgia communities because of the Neighborhood Assist grants.”