FeedMore WNY, which supplies food to more than 300 food pantries in Western New York, is running low on supplies in the face of unprecedented demand triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.
"We are definitely in need of donations. Our donated food is almost completely exhausted," said Catherine Shick, communications director for the organization.
Since March 16, FeedMore, formerly the Food Bank of Western New York, has distributed 1.5 million pounds of food to pantries in Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties. That's a 41% increase over the same 30-day period last year, according to Shick.
In addition, the agency ships 27,600 meals per week to its Meals on Wheels clients. That's a 26% increase, Shick said.
The number of clients has increased by 1,140, which Shick attributed primarily on the closures of senior citizen dining sites because of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's shutdown orders.
Since the pandemic began, FeedMore WNY has provided 11,750 emergency food boxes and 10,250 children's food bags to residents in need, sometimes delivering the food to their homes.
Mobile food pantry deliveries have been augmented by "pop-up" food distributions in needy neighborhoods, Shick said. They have been concentrated "in areas where our pantries have had to shutter due to the virus," she said.
"A lot of the large food drives this time of year that we've come to rely on, for example the National Letter Carriers Association food drive known as Stamp Out Hunger, that food drive has had to be postponed," Shick said. "We are in true need of donated food items, especially fruits, vegetables and canned proteins."
She said FeedMore will take perishable food, too, but the nonperishables "have become increasingly hard to come by."
Examples are canned fruits and vegetables, as well as shelf-stable proteins such as peanut butter, tuna and other canned meats and fish.
Donations can be made from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday at FeedMore's warehouse, 91 Holt St., Buffalo. Cash donations or arrangements for large food gifts can be made by calling 822-2002 or 852-1305. More information also can be found online at feedmorewny.org.