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Needy Western New York children will receive more than $1.5 million worth of new clothing, footwear, toys and other useful items over the next three years under an agreement announced last week with a national charity.

The pact involving Kids in Distress, a national charitable donor organization, the Buffalo Foundation and the Food Bank of Western New York will supply $500,000 worth of goods in 1998.

The agreements were announced and approved last week when Food Bank directors held their annual Christmas luncheon.

"We had expected this to be a social occasion only, but this important business matter has come up," said Food Bank Chairman Alan Condo.

"Kids in Distress is a committee of 400 chief executives of clothing, toy and children's products organizations," said Mark Gelber, its New York City-based president.

Gail Johnstone said the Buffalo Foundation will donate $25,000 to Kids in Distress. She said that the Food Bank was chosen to distribute the items because it already has the best available infrastructure.

The Food Bank has 394 affiliated agencies in Erie, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Niagara counties.

"But the Kids in Distress donations only will be distributed to agencies whose clients include children," said Food Bank Managing Director Clem Eckert. "We will list available items on our regular tapes or through fax messages."

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