February 1, 2021
Our guest blogger is Catherine Shick, Communications Director for FeedMore WNY (Western New York).
Collin has big dreams of moving to California and becoming a cartoon animator. It is why he is determined to finish his studies and earn his degree from Villa Maria College in Buffalo. A full-time student, Collin uses his college’s food pantry—a partner agency of FeedMore WNY’s—in order to help make ends meet.
Collin is one of hundreds of thousands of individuals who rely on FeedMore WNY for food assistance—and each individual has a unique story to tell. FeedMore WNY, the hunger-relief nonprofit formed by the merger of the Food Bank of Western New York and Meals on Wheels for Western New York, serves people of all ages, backgrounds and circumstances throughout Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties. This includes college students like Collin, as well as babies, children, working families trying to make ends meet, veterans and older adults. FeedMore WNY’s services touch virtually every zip code in its four-county service area, including cities, suburbs and rural communities.
While hunger has always been prevalent in Western New York, the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly exacerbated the need for food assistance throughout the community. Thousands more neighbors—many of whom who have lost their jobs or have had their work hours cut due to the pandemic—are reaching out for support through FeedMore WNY. In fact, as many as 1 in 6 individuals in FeedMore WNY’s service area may be struggling with hunger due to the current health crisis.
FeedMore WNY continues to do everything in our power to make sure that no one has to go hungry during the pandemic or at any time, for whatever reason. But we simply could not continue our mission of providing dignity, hope and a brighter future to our Western New York neighbors in need without the support of our amazing community partners.
The Summit Federal Credit Union is one such incredible partner. For more than a decade, The Summit has supported FeedMore WNY through food and fund drives, including its annual Plate of Thanks campaign. During their most recent campaign, which was held in November and December of 2020, employees and members raised $3,660 for FeedMore WNY. Throughout the history of their partnership, The Summit has raised more than $22,500 to help feed hungry Western New York neighbors.
It takes a community to feed a community, and partners like The Summit help FeedMore WNY meet the unprecedented levels of need we are facing. In 2020, FeedMore WNY distributed enough food through all of its feeding programs to provide nearly 16 million meals to those in need throughout our service area. This is nearly four million meals more than what FeedMore WNY provided in 2019.
In 2020, our partners also helped FeedMore WNY:
- Distribute more than 1.4 million meals through our Meals on Wheels programming.
- Assemble and distribute more than 69,000 emergency food kits to struggling community members since the onset of the pandemic.
- Provide more than 2.4 million pounds of food through mobile pantry distributions since the COVID crisis began.
- Pack and deliver nearly 69,400 “backpacks” of nutritious food for hungry WNY children since March 2020.
We know the difficulties wrought by COVID are far from over. Hunger leaders across the nation predict that the increased levels of food insecurity will last for the next three to five years. With the help of the generous Western New York community and our dedicated partners, FeedMore WNY is confident that we will be able to meet these challenges head on and provide “more food” and perform “more good” for our neighbors in need.