In the spirit of "Giving Tuesday," the Food Bank of WNY announced the expansion of its direct delivery program and unveiled its new 26-foot refrigerated truck today in order to better serve its 41 Niagara County member agencies - and distribute more food to people in need throughout the community. With the launch of direct delivery in Niagara County, the Food Bank will now provide direct delivery services to all of its 317 agencies throughout its four-county service area.
In any given month, more than 15,570 Niagara County residents rely on the Food Bank of WNY and its partner agencies for nutritious food and support. At present, the Food Bank's Niagara agencies use personal or rental vehicles to pick up their food orders from a Niagara Falls-based distribution site. With the launch of its direct delivery program and new truck, the Food Bank will be able to distribute product to its partner agencies' doorsteps - at no cost to them. This will relieve the agencies of the costly, time-consuming and laborious transportation process, and will allow them to order more food as they work to meet the need in the community. The refrigerated delivery truck will enable the Food Bank to deliver more perishable products, including meat, dairy items and fresh fruits and vegetables, to Niagara residents in need.
"The Food Bank of WNY is excited to launch our direct delivery program and new truck in order to better assist our member agencies and hungry community members throughout Niagara County," said Tara A. Ellis, president and CEO of the Food Bank of WNY. "The staff and volunteers who run our partner agencies devote an incredible amount of time, money and physical capacity to ensure their neighbors are fed. We appreciate their dedication, and we are thrilled to offer this important service to our partner agencies in Niagara and throughout our four-county service area."
As pictured, members of the Food Bank of WNY's board of directors and staff gathered with Niagara County agency representatives and community partners for the unveiling, which was held at The Salvation Army of Niagara Falls.
"The Salvation Army is thrilled that the Food Bank's direct delivery program is coming to Niagara County. We only have one vehicle and sometimes that vehicle is expected to be in several places at once," said Capt. Stephen Carroll, commander of The Salvation Army of Niagara Falls. "Direct delivery will allow The Salvation Army and other agencies the ability to order more food based on what is needed without having to consider how much we can fit into a vehicle."
Krista Atwater, co-coordinator of Faith United Methodist Church food pantry located in the Village of Barker, said, "As a family of farmers, we feel strongly about feeding people, and have volunteered at Faith United Methodist Church's food pantry for many years. While we love to give back to the community, the process of transporting our food orders can be challenging. Currently, I use my aging personal vehicle to pick up the food for our pantry. The process can take up to four hours, and we often are unable to transport all the food that our pantry is eligible to receive and that our hungry neighbors need. The Food Bank of WNY's direct delivery program will be a great relief for our pantry and will allow us to better meet the need in our community."
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 www.foodbankwny.org.