SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WND) - A record number of Michiana residents turned out for the 4th Annual Shred-A-Thon, making it the most successful yet.
Shred-a-Thon event 2017 in WNDU's parking lot
A total 1,251 vehicles circled through the WNDU-TV studios parking lot during the five-hour long event Saturday and the total amount raised was $15,230.16.
We shredded 76,500 lbs. of documents this year compared to only 70,000 lbs last year.
The event teamed WNDU with community partners to raise money for the 16 Pack-A-Backpack program, while simultaneously helping people avoid identity theft by giving them a way to safely disposing of their sensitive documents.
Thanks to the money raised, about 1,500 backpacks will be filled for area kids in need.
WNDU and the Better Business Bureau joined forces with Integra Certified Document Destruction, Notre Dame Federal Credit Union, Goodwill and the Kelly Cares Foundation.
Five dollar donations were suggested, but more was given in many cases. The total dollars raised will be announced Monday in NewsCenter 16 newscasts.
Many attendees shared that they were glad to have a safe way to get rid of their personal documents and paperwork.
“Nobody’s going to be going through my personal stuff,” said John Smeltezer, a participant in Saturday's Shred-A-Thon. “I know it’s taken care of.”
The help of multiple organizations and volunteers also made for a successful drive.
Members of the Mishawaka High School Football Team, St. Joe County VEST and American Legion Riders were on site to help unload documents for shredding.
“The purpose of this is to hopefully help you as our viewers be prevented from becoming a victim of identity theft,” said Dreama Jensen, Area Director of the Better Business Bureau.
Jensen believes the event killed two birds with one stone.
“We're asking for a minimum donation of five dollars and every bit of the money is used to furnish backpacks for the students that are in needing of it,” she said.
Those who volunteered say it was all worth their time and service.
"We're giving back to the community some kids are going to need some assistance this year during the summer months,” said Wayne Zwierzynski, an Army veteran with the American Legion Riders.
Zwierzynski was one of dozen volunteers who helped unload boxes of personal documents from vehicles into bins for shredding.
“We've got a great group of girls and guys that come out that show their support for our community," he said.
The shredding event is held in partnership with Integra Certified Document Destruction, Notre Dame Federal Credit Union, Goodwill and the Kelly Cares Foundation. All proceeds benefit the 16 Pack-A-Backpack program, which gives Michiana students in need a successful start to the school year by equipping them with new backpacks and school supplies.