Weekly Feature

2017-03-30 / Business

Check Out Hunger campaigns meet Food Bank needs

The Western New York community will help provide more than 4.5 million meals as a result of the Food Bank of WNY’s annual Check Out Hunger campaign.

According to a press release, customers of seven local retailers donated more than $757,000 to help feed local children, families and seniors in need.

Dash’s Market, Market in the Square, Tops Friendly Markets and Wegmans Food Markets ran their Check Out Hunger campaigns during January and February.

The press release further noted that Premier Gourmet, Premier Wine & Spirits and Price Rite completed their campaigns in November and December.

Area shoppers will have another chance to participate in Check Out Hunger when Lexington Cooperative Market, in Buffalo, and Premium Wine & Spirits in Amherst hold their campaigns in the spring.

“We know that every dollar counts in the fight against hunger. We’re extremely grateful to our customers and our employees who share a commitment to helping people in our communities every year through Check Out Hunger,” Mike Keating, senior vice president of Wegmans Food Markets Buffalo Division, said in the press release.

According to Food Bank officials, this year marks the 25th consecutive year that Wegmans Food Markets and Tops Friendly Markets held Check Out Hunger campaigns to benefit the Food Bank of WNY.

Check Out Hunger is the Food Bank of WNY’s largest annual fundraiser and is critical to the organization as it continues its mission of providing nutritious food and support to those in need throughout Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties, the release said.

“As a locally owned and operated company, we pledge our support to the Food Bank of WNY as it truly fits within our philanthropic mission,” said Frank Curci, Tops Markets chairman and CEO. “Check Out Hunger provides nutritional food to thousands in our local community, and as we are all neighbors helping neighbors, we are happy to join together to build a brighter, stronger future for Western New York.”

In the release, Food Bank officials also said that proceeds from Check Out Hunger comes at a crucial time, as the latest agency statistics show that the nonprofit is serving more hungry individuals than ever before.

The number of individuals receiving food and support from the Food Bank of WNY in any given month has grown to 134,955 — a 4 percent increase from last year.

According to the release, part of the increase can be attributed to the rising number of people who rely on the organization’s Mobile Food Pantry Program, which provides fresh, nutritious foods such as fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products directly to community members in need.

Additionally, the number of youths served monthly by the Food Bank of WNY has grown to 55,140 — a 12 percent increase from last year.

More children are relying on the organization’s Back- Pack Program, which provides nutritious, easy-to-prepare food in take-home bags each Friday throughout the school year.

“With the number of hungry Western New Yorkers continuing to grow, the support the Food Bank of WNY receives through Check Out Hunger is as important as ever. We are incredibly grateful to our retail partners and their dedicated store managers, generous customers and tireless cashiers for coming together to help feed hungry local families,” Marylou Borowiak, president and CEO of the Food Bank, said in the press release.

“We are especially thankful for our dear friends at Tops Friendly Markets and Wegmans Food Markets for their amazing support through Check Out Hunger for the past 25 years. It is because of the Food Bank of WNY’s strong community partnerships that we are able to continue to fight hunger one day at a time.”

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