Area food pantries will soon get some help replenishing supplies that were depleted during last month’s historic snowstorm, thanks to an outpouring of financial support from local companies.
More than 30 agencies were severely impacted by the storm, as they distributed food to families in hard hit areas such as Cheektowaga, Lackawanna, Orchard Park, Silver Creek, Springville, South Buffalo and West Seneca. The unexpected distribution during the storm came on top of the 179,480 meals the agencies collectively distribute to about to 24,000 people each month.
And some agencies have seen those numbers grow following the storm, as residents recovered from a double hit of unexpected costs and lost wages.
“This is such wonderful news,” said Linette Crelly of the Southern Tier Food Pantry at Trading Post in Springville. “Hundreds of families in our service area who live paycheck to paycheck lost many days of work and pay due to the storm. This is very difficult, especially during the holiday season. We have seen a much larger number of first time clients coming to us for help. This food will help us meet the growing number of clients we serve. We thank everyone for this donation.”
Following the storm, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo called on area businesses to help the Food Bank of Western New York and its member agencies replenish their supply.
Businesses responded with tens of thousands of dollars in donations.
Wegmans Food Markets donated $50,000 to the cause. HSBC Bank responded with a donation of $25,000. WKBW-TV 7 and the Scripps Howard Foundation donated $5,000 and created a 7 Cares for the Community campaign encouraging viewers to donate. First Niagara donated $2,500 and customers added more than $1,000 in donations. Citizens Bank also donated $3,000.
“Knowing the damage that the storm caused, we reached out to the Food Bank of Western New York and learned they could use our help,” said Michele Mehaffy, Consumer Affairs Manager at Wegmans Food Markets. “We are grateful for the opportunity to help restock local pantries devastated by the storm. As a longtime supporter of the Food Bank of WNY, we will continue to help in its mission, providing hunger relief in Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties.”
Each agency will receive between $1,600 and $3,400 to replenish their supplies.
“We are grateful to all who donated to the disaster relief efforts and we are extremely grateful to Wegmans,” said Marylou Borowiak, President and CEO of the Food Bank of WNY. “They care, and it genuinely shows in their year-round commitment to our community. These monies will have a significant impact in assisting our local families in need.”
The Food Bank of WNY, Inc. is the area’s primary hunger relied organization. It obtains and distributes food to 330 member agencies that include pantries, shelters, soup kitchens, after school programs and senior centers in Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties.