The Food Bank of WNY rolled out the welcome mat Thursday by rolling up the loading dock doors to acccept 43,000 pounds of Ronzoni pasta from Tops Friendly Markets, providing a midyear boost that will help stock the shelves of food pantries in four Western New York counties.
The packages of ziti and spirals, spaghetti and macaroni, in regular and wheat, can provide more than 190,000 servings for hungry families, Tops representatives said.
It all helps. Mike Billoni, Food Bank spokesman, said that the Food Bank expects to distribute a record 15.5 million pounds of food to its 330 member agencies this year, an increase of 15 percent. The increased demand is in part attributed to cuts made in the federal food stamp, or SNAP, program in the Farm Bill passed by Congress late last year.
Kathy Ray of Operation Good Neighbor, serving Evans and Brant, said demand has gone up in those communities in southern Erie County, with the pantry providing emergency food for between 60 and 80 families each month. Johnnie Mae Holt, of the Durham Metro Soup Kitchen, said people start lining up in the morning for the lunches her kitchen serves five days a week and they are grateful for the help the Food Bank provides.