Weekly Feature

2016-01-27 / Business

Food Bank receives grant to support agencies

The Food Bank of Western New York has been awarded a $23,500 grant from BJ’s Charitable Foundation to support agency capacity building by purchasing new refrigerators and freezers for nine food pantries throughout Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties.

After helping to expand capacity in 2014 for more than 400 feeding pantries and programs throughout the nation, which resulted in more than 10 million more pounds of food being donated, BJ’s Charitable Foundation invested additional funding to further prevent a bottleneck in the supply chain for food distribution to Americans facing hunger.

This is the second agency capacity building grant awarded to the Food Bank of WNY, which works with local agencies — food pantries, shelters and meal programs — that help distribute groceries and meals to the 116,691 individuals throughout Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties who rely on the Food Bank’s services every month.

Those same local hunger agencies, however, are often limited by a lack of equipment to move donations and provide safe storage for perishable items. Many agencies also encounter limited staff availability and training to support more high-functioning operations. The BJ’s Charitable Foundation grant will help member agencies of the Food Bank of WNY safely store more donated product from local supporters.

“When it comes to the battle against hunger, our member agencies are on the front lines,” Marylou Borowiak, president and CEO of the Food Bank of WNY, said. “Unfortunately, old or overused equipment can limit the effectiveness of member agencies as they try to feed their hungry neighbors.

“This wonderful grant from BJ’s Charitable Foundation has allowed us to obtain the equipment necessary in order to better serve the 186,000 Western New Yorkers who are food insecure.”

BJ’s Wholesale Clubs has supported the Feeding America nationwide network of food banks since 2011. Each of its 208 clubs has contributed perishable food totaling nearly 35 million pounds, which is the equivalent of 28 million meals.

“At BJ’s, we’re always looking for new ways to partner with food banks and local organizations to help solve hunger in our communities,” Dave Teribury, general manager of the BJ’s Wholesale Club in Amherst, said. “Through this grant, nine member agencies of the Food Bank of WNY were able to receive much-needed freezers and refrigerators. This will result in more nutritious food getting to the people who need it most.”

BJ’s Wholesale Club distributed grants to 20 additional Feeding America food banks to enhance these organizations’ agency capacity building.

The Food Bank of WNY is the primary hunger relief organization in Western New York, obtaining and distributing food to 326 member agencies, including food pantries, shelters, soup kitchens, after-school programs and senior citizen centers in Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties.

Through these agencies, every month the Food Bank of WNY serves 116,691 individuals, including 41,348 families, nearly 44,000 children and infants, and 13,194 senior citizens. The Food Bank of WNY is one of 200 members of Feeding America, the nation’s food bank network. To learn more about the Food Bank of Western New York and its hunger-relief efforts, visit www.foodbankwny.org.

BJ’s Charitable Foundation was established with the mission to enrich every community BJ’s Wholesale Clubs serve. The foundation supports nonprofit organizations that primarily benefit the underprivileged in the areas of hunger prevention and education. For more information about BJ’s Charitable Foundation, visit www.bjs.com/charity.

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