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Lose weight, feed the hungry

Pound of food donated for every pound lost

Posted: October 22, 2008 9:46 p.m.
Updated: December 24, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Imagine being able to lose weight and feed the hungry at the same time.

For six weeks, members who participated in the Weight Watchers "Lose for Good" campaign did just that. For every pound lost, many members of the Newhall branch donated an equal amount to the SCV Food Pantry.

"It's very hard when you're trying to lose weight to physically see it," said Leah Pollack of Santa Clarita. "To see the physical representation by the food donated was awe inspiring."

Pollack maintained her goal weight for three years. She donated a total of 150 pounds of food to the pantry which matched the 150 pounds she's been freed of for those three years.

"You have to be confronted with the success to know, ‘I can do that," said Pollack, who took her family to Costco to purchase the donated food. "Yes, I can walk upstairs and be involved with my child. But now I am able to do those physical activities and benefit the community because the weight is gone."

The local campaign was part of Weight Watchers national "Lose for Good" campaign. For every pound members lost the company donated the cost of one pound of food, up to a million dollars, to Share Our Strength and Action Against Hunger, two hunger-fighting organizations.

"I think it's absolutely wonderful because that food pantry is running dry with where the economy is," said Sharon Nersesian, a Weight Watchers leader. "I thought it was a wonderful idea as long as they kept the food in our area. I'm all for helping out our home town."

Although Nersesian has been at her goal weight for 17 years, she donated 80 pounds of food.

"I had to show my members how to do it," she said. "Anything I ask of them, I do."

Local members were encouraged to bring in their own food to donate to a charity in their city.

Nersesian said the total amount donated to the pantry was about 3,000 pounds.

"In having lost the weight, it kinda put into perspective, ‘Oh my gosh, a lot of people can eat this'," said Anita Honeyman, 52, who lost 84 pounds in 18 months.

Honeyman pulled together with three friends to donate those pounds to the pantry.

"First of all, carrying all that food, and how heavy it was, and then seeing all the people that could benefit from it," she said. "It was just, oh my gosh, overwhelming."

Honeyman gave birth to her daughter at age 40. For 10 years she struggled with shedding off the extra weight.

"It's one of those stories that feels like, if I can do it, anyone can do it," she said.

Nersesian does not know if Weight Watchers will continue to launch campaigns like this, but she is encouraging her members to stay involved in the community and participate in the Santa Clarita marathon Nov. 2.


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