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Food wagons circled Niagara Square on Wednesday, calling attention to the hunger-fighting efforts of the Food Bank of Western New York.

"Hunger has a cure, but it's because of the people here today who recognize that hunger has a cure, not just for today but every day," said Mayor Masiello.

The program was part of a National Food Bank Week observance.

"Your hearts and minds are in the right place," Masiello said.

He mentioned 119 million pounds of food, mostly donated, that the Food Bank has distributed since 1983. Included in that total is the food that 202 Buffalo-area agencies regularly give 61,000 people, 40 percent of them children.

Clem Eckert, a retired food industry executive who now manages the Food Bank, said the open-air conference aimed to heighten public awareness of ongoing hunger in Western New York and to thank business, church and private donors who supply the Food Bank.

"The trucks we see here today show the support we receive and serious attention that these vendors give to Western New York's hungry," Eckert said.

Food Bank staffers and volunteer leaders were greeted by the two top officials of Second Harvest, the Chicago-based organization that helps supply and oversee food distribution of the nation's 185 food banks.

Chairman David Nasby, a General Mills vice president, and Sister Christine Vladimiroff, Second Harvest's president, came to Buffalo for the occasion.

Adding a visual element to the observance, nine commercial Food Bank donors -- Coca Cola, Fleming Foods, Perry's Ice Cream, Rich Products, Sorrento Cheese, Tops markets, Tripi Foods, Wegmans and Will Poultry sent their large delivery trucks, encircling most of Niagara Square.

Before the press conference, Food Bank staffers and volunteers toured the Buffalo General Mills plant and after lunch visited the Rich Products plant.

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