The Buffalo Sabres announced the team will partner with Wegmans and Entercom Buffalo for a Thanksgiving turkey drive on Thursday, Nov. 15, to benefit local food pantries. The turkey drive will take place from 6 to 9 a.m. in the following locations:
- KeyBank Center surface lot (enter lot from Baltimore Street, via Perry Street)
- Wegmans in Amherst (675 Alberta Drive)
- Wegmans in West Seneca (370 Orchard Park Road)
"The holidays are a time to think of others and, through the Sabres 'Turkeys for Tickets' program, we are proud to help make it a warmer holiday season for our neighbors in need," said Sabres Vice President of Community Relations Rich Jureller. "The support and passion of Sabres fans extends beyond the ice and into our community and we can't thank them enough for their generosity, which will help thousands of Western New Yorkers have a happier Thanksgiving this year."
The annual Thanksgiving turkey drive returns this season after collecting more than 2,000 turkeys last year.
"We know many families are struggling this time of year, and so many generous Western New Yorkers want to help out," said Michele Mehaffy, Buffalo consumer affairs manager for Wegmans. "This program helps fill a need and allows families to come together and share a Thanksgiving meal."
For every 20-pound turkey dropped off, or the equivalent of a 20-pound turkey, the Sabres will give the donor two tickets to an upcoming game. Tickets (maximum of four per person) will be distributed immediately at the drop-off sites.
"We are grateful for the support of the Buffalo Sabres, Wegmans, Entercom Buffalo and the Western New York community as we all work together to help make sure no one goes hungry this holiday season," said Tara A. Ellis, president and CEO of the Food Bank of WNY. "In any given month, the Food Bank and our partner agencies provide nutritious food and support to as many as 140,000 individuals throughout Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties. It is heartwarming to know that thousands of our neighbors in need will be able to enjoy a holiday meal thanks to the turkeys collected through this wonderful event."
All of the donated turkeys will directly benefit the Buffalo City Mission and the Food Bank of WNY.
Stuart Harper, CEO and executive director of the Buffalo City Mission, said, "We serve an annual Thanksgiving community meal, which this year will be served on Tuesday, Nov. 20. Last year, the City Mission fed more than 250 people through this meal alone. On Thanksgiving morning, through our annual 'Turkey Express' event, the Buffalo City Mission, along with 250 volunteers, will prep, package and deliver a hot Thanksgiving meal to 5,500 housebound, poor and hungry individuals and families throughout the Western New York area. We are thankful to the Buffalo Sabres for once again providing turkeys to help make this endeavor possible another year. Last year alone, the Buffalo City Mission provided over 145,000 meals and over 74,000 nights of safe sleep shelter. With homelessness increasing 9 percent last year and expected to rise again this year, the need is so great."
The Food Bank of WNY is the primary hunger-relief organization in Western New York, obtaining and distributing food to 317 member agencies, including food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, group homes and youth programs in Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties. Through these agencies, the Food Bank of WNY serves as many as 140,000 individuals in any given month, including 45,300 households, 54,500 children and infants and 18,370 seniors. For more information, visit FoodBankWNY.org
The Buffalo City Mission, founded in 1917, is a nonprofit organization that provides preventative, emergency and transitional programs to thousands of people who are homeless and impoverished. The City Mission includes a women and children's shelter (Cornerstone Manor); the men's community center; and Dick Road thrift store to serve the Western New York community. For more information, visit www.buffalocitymission.org
or call 716-854-8181.
The Buffalo Sabres Foundation mission statement reads: "To identify and support local organizations which share our core objectives: serving children and military personnel, caring for the sick, assisting physically and mentally challenged athletes, and supporting youth hockey initiatives. By utilizing financial resources and community influence, the Buffalo Sabres Foundation assists these organizations and their beneficiaries in realizing their highest potential and succeeding in their endeavors."