The ninth annual "Food 2 Families" drive, sponsored by Tops Friendly Markets and WGRZ-TV Channel 2, collected enough food and funds to give the Food Bank of Western New York the opportunity to distribute more than 1.1 million meals to families in need during this holiday season.
The one-day drive, held Dec. 5 at all Tops Friendly Markets locations, collected a record $166,463 and a record 145,495 pounds of food.
"We are extremely thankful to everyone who donated to 'Food 2 Families' this year, and we are so grateful for the tremendous support from our dear friends at Tops Friendly Markets, WGRZ-TV Channel 2 and Town Square Media," said Marylou Borowiak, president and CEO of the Food Bank of WNY. "The food and funds raised from this drive will be used to assist our 39,054 families in need during the holidays and into the new year."
Channel 2 held live broadcasts from Tops locations throughout the day and ran an online donation competition between the "Daybreak" and primetime crews. The team with the fewer donations would clean the Food Bank. The company made a last-minute donation to tie the donations for a total of $13,222.
"Every year, the empathy and generosity of Western New York make this event even bigger," said Jim Toellner, president and general manager of WGRZ-TV. "Our purpose at Channel 2 is to help make our community - our home - an even better place to live for everybody. So, a big 'Thank you' to our great partners at Tops, the Food Bank of WNY, and everyone who contributed to another record food drive."
Frank Curci, owner, president and CEO of Tops Friendly Markets, said, "Helping to eradicate hunger in the Western New York community is an important part of Tops' core mission. Especially now when our neighbors need help the most, this annual event allows the entire community to be part of that mission."
Food 2 Families was supported by Town Square Media.
The Food Bank of WNY Inc. is the primary hunger relief organization in Western New York, obtaining and distributing food to 330 member agencies such as pantries, shelters, soup kitchens, afterschool programs and senior citizen centers in Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties. Through those agencies, the Food Bank services 106,000 individuals, including 39,000 families, nearly 37,000 children and more than 11,000 senior citizens.
The Food Bank of WNY is one of approximately 200 members of Feeding America, the nation's food bank network.