As with so many others, Mitch Morse and his wife, Caitlin, have been spending considerable time at home lately.
Much of it has been devoted to self-reflection.
"And one of the things we've been able to kind of take a step back about is what this community has done for us in Buffalo, and how it's changed our lives forever," the Buffalo Bills' center said Thursday by phone from his offseason home in Kansas City, Kan. "It's given us the opportunity to never have to worry about much financially, so what was the best thing we could do? We sat down and said, 'How can we help?' "
After consulting with the Bills, Morse and his wife decided to make a donation of $100,000 to FeedMore WNY, formerly Meals on Wheels and the Food Bank.
FeedMore WNY says that its mission is to "provide dignity, hope and a brighter future to its Western New York neighbors in need."
The organization annually provides nutritious food to more than 135,000 individuals in Erie, Niagara, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties. The organization says it's "working tirelessly to respond to the COVID-19 crisis and keep our community fed."
"We couldn't give our services," Morse said. "We couldn't go out and help in the community hands-on. So we decided that the best plan of action was to set aside a little bit of money to send to FeedMore.
"I called the Bills and asked them and their departments how my money could get to the most people, how could it really affect the most people and they told me that everything that FeedMore was doing right now and kind of stepping up to this daunting task of uncertainty and unrest in some homes. And this made sense."
According to FeedMore WNY, the need for financial support has grown dramatically during the spread of the coronavirus.
"Unfortunately, for our neighbors who were already struggling financially, this crisis has stretched budgets beyond their breaking point," the organization said. "While most of us have heeded the advice to stock up on food and other essentials, that’s a luxury some can’t afford. Throughout the past week, FeedMore WNY has taken on hundreds of older adults who need home-delivered meal services. FeedMore WNY’s partner pantries and soup kitchens are serving more hungry community members than ever, and our mobile food pantry distributions continue to deliver fresh, perishable food items such as produce and low-fat dairy products to locations throughout the four counties.
"Volunteers and staff are packing and distributing emergency food kits to struggling households. With local children out of school, at the same time their parents and caregivers may be losing work, there is an urgent need for additional food and funds to support those in our community who are most vulnerable to hunger. If you’re able to make a special gift right now, please do!"
Morse, who last year signed a $44.5 million contract with the Bills as a free agent from the Kansas City Chiefs, admits that he has always taken the availability of food for granted.
"It's just not the case for a lot of people and to be able to, at least, take away some of the burden that this (virus) has brought on was something we wanted to do," he said. "Food is one of those basic things you need. You can't cope with much when you're hungry. You can't make progressive steps toward bettering yourself and bettering others if you have to worry about where you next meal comes from."