Northwestern University students at the 42nd annual Dance Marathon, which raises money for charity. Photo Courtesy of Northwestern University Dance Marathon

Over the first weekend in March, more than 800 Northwestern University students danced for 30 consecutive hours in the 42nd annual Dance Marathon (NUDM), as the culmination of their drive that raised more than $1 million for Blessings in a Backpack and Evanston Community Foundation.

This year, the funds will be used to combat childhood hunger in the Chicago area and across the country.

Blessings in a Backpack is a non-
profit child hunger organization that currently feeds more than 85,000 children in 800 schools. Every Friday,
more than 3,700 Blessings in a Backpack volunteers distribute bags of nutritious and non-perishable weekend food to children. Without food assistance, many of these children could go hungry up to 65 hours – from the time they leave school on Friday to when they return Monday morning.

“When you consider that just $100 feeds a child for an entire school year of weekends, you realize NUDM has the power to directly impact the overall health and academic performance of thousands of kids,” NUDM 2016 executive co-chair Arielle Miller said.

The Evanston Community Foundation, NUDM’s secondary beneficiary since 1998, will receive 10 percent of this year’s NUDM net proceeds.

“The Evanston Community Foundation is focused on helping Evanston thrive now and forever as a vibrant, inclusive and just community. This means we connect resources and knowledge with the work of local organizations for the common good. We do this by investing in the community through grant-making, leadership development and capacity building,” said Monique Brunson Jones, ECF’s president and CEO.