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The Buffalo News today launches its eighth annual Summer Harvest fund drive for the benefit of the Food Bank of Western New York.

For the next two months, The News will invite readers to contribute money to help support a food collection and distribution service that each year helps feed an estimated 60,000 persons of limited means in Erie, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Niagara counties.

The gifts may be mailed to Summer Harvest, Box 395, Buffalo, 14226. A coupon to assist donors appears on Page B8.

As in past years, The News regularly will report the receipts. Although careful and verifiable records will be kept, only in rare instances will the identity of donors be published.

Thomas R. Heine, president of the Buffalo Division of the S.M. Flickinger Co., food wholesalers, is the 1990 drive chairman. His leadership extends the tradition of Buffalo area food industry leaders directing the drive.

The food industry -- manufacturers, distributors and retailers -- has contributed vast amounts of food, hardware and services. The industry also has supplied the leadership that has built the Food Bank into the largest such operation on the East Coast.

This year, the Food Bank expects to receive and give away almost 12 million pounds of food.

"I welcome the chance to direct this year's campaign," Heine said. "I have been to the Food Bank's warehouse at 91 Holt St. and watched the volunteer representatives of the various agencies pick up the food. Sometimes it's by carload, sometimes by truckload. The efficiency with which the food is assembled and loaded is exciting.

"But, more important, that such efficiency arises because some people want to help other people tells me that the Golden Rule is practiced here. I am proud to be part of this effort."

Heine pointed out that the $100,000 Summer Harvest funds raised last year under the direction of David A. Rich contributed 10 percent of the Food Bank budget.

"Sadly, that there are thousands of Western New York people without means to feed themselves properly is all too real," Heine said.

Donations in their entirety go to the Food Bank. The collection costs are donated.

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