Each time a Bills defender drags an opposing ball carrier down this season, he’s doing a small part to help someone in need of food assistance.
The Bills have teamed up with Campbell’s Chunky Soup and Tops Friendly Markets to donate 20 cans of soup to local food banks for every defensive tackle. In its fourth year, the Tackle Hunger initiative has provided more than 56,000 cans of soup to the Food Bank of WNY, Rochester Foodlink, Food Bank of Central New York and Food Bank of the Southern Tier.
“The continuation of the Tackle Hunger initiative is incredibly beneficial to the food bank and those we serve,” said Catherine Shick, community relations manager for the Food Bank of WNY. “We need the support of the Bills defense. They’ve been great so far.”
Through five games, the Bills defense has recorded 300 tackles, according to the team’s online Tackle Tracker, putting them on pace to donate another 19,200 cans of soup.
“It’s a great thing,” linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said. “Every time you are out there making a tackle, you know it’s not only helping yourself, but also helping those less fortunate.”
At Alexander’s request, Campbell’s will also donate to the Alameda County Community Food Bank in his hometown of Oakland, Calif.
Across the four counties served by the Food Bank of WNY (Erie, Niagara, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua) more than 170,000 people and one in five children are in need of food assistance, Shick said. Each month, the Food Bank of WNY distributes meals to 341 member agencies, including food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, youth programs, group homes and senior citizen centers, and assists more than 135,000 people.
“A can of soup can mean a lot to someone who is in need of food assistance,” Shick said. “A can of soup can nourish an individual who has not had a meal in days. A can of soup can provide peace of mind to a parent who can provide a meal for their child.”
The Bills are the only NFL team included in the Tackle Hunger program. Over the past 25 years, the organization has helped the Food Bank of WNY provide more than 6 million meals, Shick said, through donations, food drives, and fundraising events, including the annual Thanksgiving Blitz.
“So many of our programs have been supported by the team, the coaches, the players and players’ wives,” Shick said. “Tackle Hunger is one of many amazing initiatives that the Buffalo Bills have done on behalf of the Food Bank of WNY to provide nourishment and hope for those in need.”