Now in its 38th year, campaign will gather donations at all Tops and M&T locations to meet growing needs in community
The annual “Gift of Warmth” campaign, which has become the region’s longest-running winter clothing collection drive, is now expanding with a new partner and into a new city.
M&T Bank has teamed up with Tops Friendly Markets to bring the campaign into Tops stores and, together, they have grown the drive from Buffalo into the Rochester area.
The “Gift of Warmth” campaign encourages donations of new hats, gloves, mittens and scarves, which The Salvation Army distributes to families in need and individuals who are without shelter.
The expansion of the “Gift of Warmth” campaign comes as The Salvation Army continues to see community needs growing across Buffalo and Rochester.
Now through Jan. 5, “Gift of Warmth” donations can be dropped off in the collection boxes at any M&T Bank branch or select Tops Markets location across the greater Buffalo-Rochester region.
“The ‘Gift of Warmth’ helps us meet a critical need for our community. It ensures The Salvation Army has the winter gear they need to help our neighbors stay warm – and by partnering with Tops Friendly Markets, we’ll significantly grow the campaign’s impact,” said Eric Feldstein, M&T Bank Western New York regional president. “The winter in Western New York is extremely difficult for those with shelter and clothing insecurities, and it’s important we do our part to help make a difference in people’s lives through the simple act of donating hats, gloves, mittens and scarves. My M&T Bank colleagues are grateful to Tops Markets for supporting The Salvation Army.”
“Teaming up with M&T Bank to expand the ‘Gift of Warmth’ will build on our longstanding partnership with The Salvation Army,” said Ron Ferri, Tops Friendly Markets president. “For years, we have partnered with The Salvation Army on their Red Kettle holiday campaign in our stores, and now, by joining the ‘Gift of Warmth’ drive, we will help further grow the community’s support for our neighbors in need. On behalf of Tops Markets, I commend M&T Bank and The Salvation Army for their tremendous work together over the ‘Gift of Warmth’s’ nearly 40-year history. We’re proud to join the effort and bring the drive into our stores.”
A press release noted, “The Salvation Army quickly distributes all winter gear collected to the people they serve. Donated items will remain local to the region where they are collected.”
The Salvation Army Director of Development for Buffalo Area Services Laurie Krajna said, “Without the ‘Gift of Warmth,’ The Salvation Army would not have the supplies necessary to help the people we serve through Western New York’s harsh winters. This campaign is essential to our work to meet the very real needs in our community. We are grateful to M&T Bank for their decades of commitment to the ‘Gift of Warmth’ and for expanding the program this year through their new partnership with Tops Friendly Markets. Together, we can help thousands of our neighbors – and we’re honored to have two reliable partners in M&T and Tops leading the way.”
The “Gift of Warmth” was created in 1985 when a small group of M&T Bank employees came together to encourage their colleagues to donate winter clothing items to The Salvation Army. As the years went on, this small group effort transformed into a communitywide campaign and has since collected over 41,500 winter clothing items – all distributed by The Salvation Army to local families, children and individuals.
The press release added, “This donation drive builds on M&T Bank’s and Tops Friendly Markets’ longstanding commitment to the communities they serve. Through the ‘Gift of Warmth’ campaign, the two Western New York-based companies will collaborate to inspire their employees, customers and communities to get involved and help their neighbors stay warm this winter. The drive accepts donations of new hats, gloves, mittens and scarves.”
To find the nearest M&T Bank or Tops Friendly Markets location to make a donation, visit locations.mtb.com or topsmarkets.com/storelocator. A total of 92 M&T branches and 48 Tops stores are participating. “Gift of Warmth” donation boxes can be found inside Tops front vestibules and M&T branch lobbies.