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Heroic measures: 97 Rock's DJ Jickster will hunker down on a FeedMore WNY trailer for a week in an effort to collect donations for those in need this holiday season. (File photo by Joseph M. Cascio/Kaleida Health/courtesy of FeedMore WNY Communications Director Catherine Shick)
Heroic measures: 97 Rock's DJ Jickster will hunker down on a FeedMore WNY trailer for a week in an effort to collect donations for those in need this holiday season. (File photo by Joseph M. Cascio/Kaleida Health/courtesy of FeedMore WNY Communications Director Catherine Shick)

15th annual 'Operation: Rock Out Hunger' to provide food, spread hope to hungry

Submitted

Fri, Nov 13th 2020 12:25 pm

Contactless food & fund drive will run from Nov. 17-24 at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital

In order to respond to the increased need for food assistance in the community due to the pandemic and to help make sure neighbors in need have enough to eat this holiday season, “97 Rock,” Kaleida Health, WKBW “7 Eyewitness News” and FeedMore WNY will host the 15th annual “Operation: Rock Out Hunger” food and fund drive. From 2 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17, through 10 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 24, “97 Rock’s” DJ Jickster will live in a FeedMore WNY trailer in the Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital parking lot, 1540 Maple Road, Williamsville. He will collect donations of nonperishable food, frozen turkeys and monetary donations to benefit FeedMore WNY.

“Helping FeedMore WNY provide nutritious food to our hungry community members has always been important to me, but this year it seems even more critical that we continue to host the ‘Operation: Rock Out Hunger’ food and fund drive,” DJ Jickster said. “There are so many people in Western New York who are struggling to get by right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I encourage everyone to stop by ‘Rock Out Hunger’ in order to make a safe, contactless donation to help feed their fellow neighbors in need.”

As a kick-off to the event, Kaleida Health and its affiliates across FeedMore WNY’s four-county service area collected food donations from Oct. 19 through Nov. 16.

“We are incredibly honored to be part of ‘Rock Out Hunger’ again,” said Jody Lomeo, president and CEO of Kaleida Health. “For the past month, 29 locations across Kaleida Health and our affiliates throughout Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties have been collecting nonperishable food items to ramp up for ‘Rock Out Hunger,’ and dozens more of our employees will be volunteering at ‘Rock Out Hunger’ in the week leading up to Thanksgiving. Especially during this unprecedented year, we recognize that far too many individuals and families are struggling for the most basic items and cannot celebrate the holidays in the ways that so many of us take for granted. So, the Kaleida Health family is stepping up again to achieve what we hope to be another record-breaking event that will truly impact so many in our community this season.”

A press release said, “While hunger has long been prevalent in Western New York, the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly exacerbated the need for food assistance in the community. Approximately 219,400 individuals in FeedMore WNY’s service area may be at risk of hunger due to the pandemic, including 80,550 children, according to Feeding America – the nationwide network of food banks of which FeedMore WNY is a member.”

LeAnne Markins, director of creative services for WKBW, said, “There are so many members of our community that have been impacted by the pandemic. Food insecurity is not a new problem in our area, but because of the pandemic, it unfortunately is an issue for many more families in WNY. While ‘Rock Out Hunger’ is an event that WKBW is proud to be a part of every year (alongside Kaleida Health, FeedMore WNY and ‘97 Rock’), this year, it’s so important to support this effort to help our neighbors in need. I have no doubt that the members of WNY will continue to rise to the occasion, and we will be there to bring you these great stories on ‘AM Buffalo’ and ‘7 Eyewitness News’ in the days to come.”

In addition to the collection at “Operation: Rock Out Hunger,” donations of food and funds can be dropped off at the Food Bank at 91 Holt St., Buffalo, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, and from 8 a.m. to noon most Saturdays. Call FeedMore WNY at 716-852-1305 to schedule a Saturday donation drop-off. Donations also can be made online at www.feedmorewny.org.

FeedMore WNY President and CEO Tara A. Ellis said, “This year, we know that the holidays are going to look and feel different for all of us. In this time of uncertainty, one thing we want to make sure of is that no one has to go without food this holiday season and into the new year. FeedMore WNY is working tirelessly to respond to the increased need for food assistance in Western New York due to the pandemic – but we need the community’s help. We thank DJ Jickster, ‘97 Rock,’ Kaleida Health and WKBW ‘7 Eyewitness News’ for making ‘Operation: Rock Out Hunger’ possible, and we encourage the Western New York community to come out and support this safe, contactless drive to benefit our less-fortunate neighbors.”

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