BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Hunger is a very real problem in Western New York, where one in eight people in Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties is considered food insecure.
When it comes to children in those counties, the number climbs to one in five.
This month, FeedMore WNY is asking more people to step up to help their neighbors in need, as they mark Hunger Action Month in September.
“You can sit next to someone on the bus and you have no idea what they’re going through every day. Kids at your children’s schools, you have no idea what they’re going home to,” said Lauren Picone, Government Affairs Manager for FeedMore WNY, “so it is something we need to be aware of.”
For kids, FeedMore WNY’s Backpack program is a real lifeline. News 4 has proudly partnered with Wegmans and Fidelis Care for years to support that program to send food home on the weekends and over the summers for children who rely on free or reduced price meals at school.
“I think it puts the fun in fundraising,” Picone pointed out. “You don’t think about hunger when you’re at the Meatball Street Brawl event but you are helping your neighbors in need.”
To help get more people thinking about hunger and their neighbors in need, the Peace Bridge and Niagara Falls will both be lit orange on Monday. Orange is the color associated with hunger causes.
FeedMore WNY is also raising awareness about hunger by encouraging people to take part in a campaign on social media. You can post a picture of yourself with a printable empty plate, showing what you can’t do on an empty stomach and what you can do to help end hunger.
FeedMore WNY is reminding everyone that there is a lot you can do to help.
“It’s so critical for us to have the support of the community to continue our mission,” said Catherine Shick, communications manager for FeedMore WNY.
“This month, we’re looking to engage the community a little more,” Picone added. “So come on out to volunteer at FeedMore WNY, either at our Food Bank warehouse or our Meals on Wheels program. Or, host a food drive or a fund drive and we would love to get you involved.”
You can also have someone from FeedMore WNY come to your workplace or organization’s meeting to speak more about hunger in our community.