FeedMore WNY needs help creating reusable bags

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – As New York State’s plastic bag ban takes effect, it’s going to get a lot harder to get your hands on plastic grocery bags.

So, FeedMore WNY is getting crafty, turning t-shirts into reusable cloth bags for clients.

It’s a pretty simple process: Cut the collar and sleeves off a t-shirt, cut one inch strips along the bottom and tie them together to secure the front to the back for a bottom seam, then turn it inside out.

The finished product is an eco-friendly cloth bag with handles that can be used over and over again.

“We distribute them to our clients and community members who use our mobile pantry and it’s a really great way for them to take their groceries home,” explained Catherine Shick, FeedMore WNY Communications Director.

FeedMore WNY does have some supplies for these bags on hand. They always end up with some extra t-shirts from events like Walk Off Hunger, and they’re cycling in new shirts with their new logo now that the merger between the Food Bank of WNY and Meals on Wheels for WNY is complete.

But, FeedMore WNY really needs more donations of unused t-shirts. Shirts that have been worn cannot be utilized out of an abundance of caution with food safety practices.

“A really great opportunity is if you had a Fun Run, an event of some sort, and you have all these t-shirts left over that you don’t know what to do with, what better way to pay it forward than to bring it to our warehouse at 91 Holt Street in Buffalo and we would gladly turn them into bags to help our neighbors in need,” Shick said.

FeedMore WNY also needs volunteers to do the crafting to create the bags.

There’s not a lot of skill involved. It just takes a bit of time.

“Maybe you can’t make it out to our warehouse to sort and pack food donations or you can’t make it out to help deliver meals, but you want to do something at home, this is a really great way to help us,” Shick told News 4.

Local grocery stores are doing their part to help as they phase out their plastic bags under New York’s new law.

Tops is giving money from the sale of some reusable bags to FeedMore WNY and Wegmans is giving money from the sales of its paper bags.

For it’s part, FeedMore WNY will continue to use plastic bags in its warehouse for some time for things like the Backpack Program.

Organizations like FeedMore WNY are exempt from New York’s plastic bag law.

Even so, officials say the more reusable bags they can use, the better.

“Not only is it sustainable, they’re good for the environment and they’re really simple to make,” Shick said.

You are invited to make reusable bags for FeedMore WNY at home using unused t-shirts and dropping them off at the Food Bank site. You can also drop off the t-shirts themselves.

And more help is always needed for all of the work FeedMore WNY does. Click here to learn more about how you can donate or volunteer.

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