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Wilson Foundation donates $500,000 to Food Bank

Efforts to feed the hungry in Western New York got a big boost Tuesday in the form of a $500,000 grant from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation.

The Food Bank of Western New York will use the money for a variety of capital improvements, and has used some of it to buy a new refrigerated truck. That purchase will allow the Food Bank to increase the amount of fresh food it delivers each year by more than 640,000 pounds, officials said.

“We’re so pleased to announce this grant to the Food Bank of Western New York to support the incredible and impactful work they do for so many Western New Yorkers,” Mary Wilson, widow of the late Buffalo Bills owner Ralph C. Wilson Jr. and trustee of the foundation, said in a written statement.

The Food Bank also will use the funding to implement a warehouse barcoding system; to renovate the sorting area used by volunteers, to build a more efficient racking and storage system, to buy new warehouse equipment, and to buy an all-wheel-drive vehicle for staff use involving its nutrition education programs and for site visits throughout Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties.

Officials from the foundation and the Food Bank held a news conference announcing the grant Tuesday at Resurrection Life Food Pantry on Old Union Road in Cheektowaga.