Helping Kids Go Back To School at Hopefest in Chicago

Dec 16, 2011 11:30 AM ET

Helping Kids Go Back To School at Chicago's Hopefest

As students of all ages approach winter break, I think back to the many people who helped students prepare for the school year. A particularly rewarding volunteer opportunity that I participated in through PepsiCo was Hopefest — a MASSIVE event reaching over 5,000 Chicago students.

On a sunny and hot Saturday morning in July, a line of families stretched up to two blocks adjacent to Humboldt Park in Chicago, all waiting patiently to receive a breakfast of milk and Quaker Oatmeal to Go from the PepsiCo Food for Good truck, haircuts, dental and eye exams, immunizations and school physicals from the health fair, a free hot lunch, a new backpack full of school supplies, and a reusable bag full of groceries including Life cereal, Tropicana orange juice, Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix, Doritos and Cheetos.   Megan Swierk, Frito Lay national account manager for the Walgreens team, led PepsiCo’s volunteer and donation efforts and also engaged Walgreens in the event. Walgreens donated 5,000 reusable grocery bags, backpacks and pedometers and had staff on hand to provide health screenings. The 900 volunteers working the event were identifiable in light blue T-shirts with the Hopefest logo on the front and PepsiCo on the back. Volunteers, including dozens from PepsiCo, and recipients stayed hydrated and cool with ice-cold Gatorade and Propel. To continue reading about the PepsiCo Hopefest event, click here.     About PepsiCo 
PepsiCo offers the world's largest portfolio of billion-dollar food and beverage brands, including 19 different product lines that generate more than $1 billion in annual retail sales each. Our main businesses -- Quaker, Tropicana, Gatorade, Frito-Lay, and Pepsi Cola -- also make hundreds of other enjoyable foods and beverages that are respected household names throughout the world. With net revenues of approximately $60 billion, PepsiCo's people are united by our unique commitment to sustainable growth by investing in a healthier future for people and our planet, which we believe also means a more successful future for PepsiCo. We call this commitment Performance with Purpose: PepsiCo's promise to provide a wide range of foods and beverages for local tastes; to find innovative ways to minimize our impact on the environment, including by conserving energy and water usage, and reducing packaging volume; to provide a great workplace for our associates; and to respect, support, and invest in the local communities where we operate. For more information, please visit   PEPSI19589