Food Bank of WNY

The primary source of the food we provide to our clients is the Food Bank of Western New York.

What is the Food Bank of Western New York?

In 1978, a group of community and religious leaders met at the Community Action Organization to develop a comprehensive method of food crisis intervention. In 1979 we became the 39th food bank affiliated with the Second Harvest chain and distributed food to eighteen agencies. Each month 116,821 less fortunate Western New Yorkers turn to soup kitchens, food pantries, and other emergency food providers for assistance.  Since 1979, the Food Bank of Western New York has been helping individuals in need by acting as a bridge between available food sources and agencies servicing them.  43,875 of those served by the Food Bank of Western New York’s member agencies are children while 13,194 are seniors. In addition to distributing food, the Food Bank has programs to further assist its agencies and educate the community about hunger among the needy in our area.

How does the Food Bank obtain product?

The Food Bank of WNY receives perishable and non-perishable food and other supplies from manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, brokers, food distributors, and food drives.  Monies from fundraisers, grants and monetary donations are used to supplement these donations.These products, including packaged, canned, perishable and non-perishable food, meet all food safety and nutrition standards. In addition, the Food Bank is helped in its purchasing and/or distribution of food product by food drives and fundraisers as well as by state and federal government grants.

How is the food distributed?

Member agencies usually pick up their orders directly from the Food Bank or one of its outlying county distribution sites.  AmeriCorps makes deliveries to several agencies in Erie County. The Food Express truck enables us to distribute perishable food directly to clients of our member agencies.

Whom does the Food Bank serve and how much food is distributed?

The Food Bank distributes food to approximately 326 member agencies that feed the less fortunate in Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, and Niagara Counties.  These are child care centers, food pantries, group homes, senior programs, shelters, soup kitchens, and summer camps.  The Food Bank of WNY provides more than 15 million pounds of food annually across the four counties it serves.

Can individuals get food directly from the Food Bank?

No.  However, the Food Bank of Western New York does provide food to people in need through its member agencies.  Persons may contact the Food Bank of Western New York, for assistance in finding an agency in their respective areas.

Does the Food Bank sell food?

The Food Bank does not and cannot sell donated food.  In addition, our network of member agencies is prohibited from selling food intended for those in need.  Member agencies do contribute a small shared maintenance fee to cover operational costs. The Food Bank does purchase and re-sell to our affiliate agency programs through the Wholesale program.

What’s a member agency?

Member agencies consist of emergency programs such as food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters.  There are also non-emergency agencies consisting of day cares, group homes, Kids Cafes/youth programs, senior centers and summer camps.  Currently there are approximately 326 member agencies serving the food needs of Western New York.

What’s the difference between a food bank and a food pantry?

A food bank solicits, collects, stores and distributes large quantities of food to a variety of food programs.  The Food Bank of Western New York is a food bank.
A food pantry provides bags of food, designed to provide nutritionally balanced meals, directly to families and individuals.  Food pantries are a key source of emergency food security for low-income families.

What’s the difference between a food pantry and a soup kitchen?

A food pantry provides bags of food, designed to provide nutritionally balanced meals, directly to families and individuals who have a place to live.  Food pantries are a key source of emergency food security for low-income families. Soup Kitchens prepare hot, nutritious meals for those in need.  For some of a soup kitchen’s walk-ins, this is their only meal of the day.

Where does the Food Bank get funding?

The Food Bank is supported by private donations as well as grants from corporations and foundations and state and federal grants.  Individuals provide support to the Food Bank through gifts online or via mail, workplace giving, and planned gifts or at special events.

Recent Food Bank Deliveries To Our Pantry