FAQ

What is the Food Bank of Western New York? 
The Food Bank of WNY provides nutritious food and support to those who are hungry in WNY through our network of 329 member agencies throughout Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties. In any given month, we assist as many as 129,000 individuals, including more than 44,000 families, 45,000 children and nearly 17,000 seniors.

 

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, youth programs, senior centers and summer camps.  The Food Bank currently provides food and support to 329 member agencies serving our neighbors in need throughout Western New York.

 

What's the difference between a food bank and a food pantry?
A food bank procures, 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.

 

How does the Food Bank obtain product?  
The Food Bank of Western New York receives donations of food from our partners in the food industry, including farmers, packers, retailers, manufacturers, and wholesalers, as well as from community food drives and individual food donations. Financial support from donors allows us to purchase nutritious food that may not be available through donation . 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 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.  Our Mobile Food Pantry truck enables us to distribute perishable food directly to clients of our member agencies and underserved members of the community.

 

Whom does the Food Bank serve and how much food is distributed?
The Food Bank distributes food to 329 member agencies that feed our neighbors in need in Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, and Niagara counties.  Our member agencies include food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, group homes, senior centers, and youth programs. Annually, the Food Bank distributes enough food to provide more than 12 million meals to those in need.

 

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. Individuals in need 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.  Additionally, our member agencies have grants from the state, federal government, and the Food Bank’s Agency Assistance program to help them cover shared maintenance fees and food purchased through the wholesale program.

 

How much of my donation goes directly to feed needy people who are hungry?
Nearly 95% of every dollar donated to the Food Bank goes directly to our programs and services.

 

How much help will my donation be?

Every dollar donated to the Food Bank helps provide 6 meals to our hungry WNY neighbors.

 

Is the Food Bank a 501(c)(3) organization?
The Food Bank of WNY is an independent 501(c)(3) organization that meets the Better Business Bureau's charity standards.

 

Why should I support the Food Bank of Western New York?  
The Food Bank continues to
earn the maximum 4-star rating by Charity Navigator, America’s premier charity evaluator. Receiving this top rating is an indication of the Food Bank’s sound fiscal management practices and commitment to accountability and transparency.

 

  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.

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