History

HISTORY/FOOD BANK OF WESTERN NEW YORK

 

1978                  A group of interested agency representatives met at the Community Action Organization to develop a comprehensive method of food crises intervention.

 

1979                  We became the 39th food bank of the Second Harvest chain. 

 

1981                  The food bank was incorporated under the name of Community Food Center of WNY, Inc.

 

1982                  First logo developed.

 

1983                  A warehouse site at 701 Seneca Street was acquired.

 

1984                  The first millionth pound of food was distributed.  New York State began its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

 

1985                  The food bank was now serving four counties:  Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara.   198 agencies were now members of the food bank.

 

1986                  Banner year - distribution reached 5 million pounds.  A 5,235 cu ft freezer was acquired.

 

1987                 The Community Food Center of Western New York, Inc. made giant strides toward improved service and efficiency by installing a computer system.

 

1988                  The food bank moved to 91 Holt Street in Buffalo and purchased a 37,000 square foot warehouse.

 

1989                  The name was changed to Food Bank of Western New York, Inc. and we began receiving USDA product. 

 

1991                  We distributed our 50 millionth pound of product.

 

1992                  The Food Bank invested in a 70,000 cubic foot freezer.

 

1995                  The 100 millionth pound of product was distributed. 

 

1996                  Local fund-raising increased in importance.  Produce for People was initiated to increase acquisition and distribution of fresh fruits and vegetables.

 

1997                  Kids Cafe program expanded to seven sites.  New Food Bank logo developed. 

 

1998                  A building renovation program was begun.  A $1 M capital campaign was undertaken.  Hunger 1997: the Faces & Facts study released.  Collaboration between the Buffalo Foundation, K.I.D.S. Foundation and the Food Bank

 

1999                  Building renovation completed.  $1M Capital Campaign goal surpassed.  Collaboration between Goodwill and the Food Bank.  A modern new computer system was installed.

 

2000                  Official opening of Grass Roots Community Garden.  Strategic Plan 2000-2003 adopted – including new mission and vision statements.  Web site developed.

 

2001                  Agency Assistance program developed.  Agency Food Outlet improved.  Food Express, Kids Helping Other Kids and Good Cookin’ programs expanded.

 

2002                  Collaborations with Goodwill Industries: Breaking the Line and Urban Revitalization Center.  Hunger in America Study 2001 released.  The Kids Helping Other Kids program won an award from America's Second Harvest.

 

2003                  Nutrition education workshops and emergency infant and baby food programs continued.  The Garden Project Education Program/fruits and vegetables initiated.  A VITA grant of $200,000 for the food express program was received.  This year marked the 20th anniversary of the warehouse distributing food to agencies.

 

2004                  Designated $281,000 to Agency Assistance Program.  Developed new vision statement.

 

2005                  Capital campaign for $1,500,000.00 publicly announced.  Emergency backup generator installed, and vehicle storage facility constructed.  Over 13 million pounds of product distributed.  Ranked 28th out of 275 WNY not for profits with 96.2% of expenses dedicated to services.   

 

2006                  12 trailer loads of product sent to hurricane Katrina relief effort.  A record $446,000 was designated to our AAP.  NY Farm Bureau held its 2005 state annual meeting in Buffalo.

 

2007                  We were awarded a new Ford refrigerated cube truck from Paul Newman Foundation and Ford Motor Company.  Expanded nutrition education programs.  Initiated the Puppet Theater for children ages 4 to 7.  Food Bank and Agency Disaster Relief Preparedness program developed.  A new distribution site was opened in Chautauqua County.   

 

2008                  Clem Eckert, who served the Food Bank for over 12 years, 10 of which as President/CEO, retired and was replaced by Tom Heine.  A Client Choice Program and a Product Recall Process were initiated.  Community Blue donated a new van to the Food Bank.  Because of Tom Heine’s illness, Marylou Borowiak began her tenure as Interim President & CEO.  Chautauqua County’s Community Foundation donated a walk-in freezer for the distribution site.     

 

2009                  A second food express truck was added to our fleet.  Carolyn B. Thomas and Helen Urban, two co-founders of the Food Bank of WNY, and Tom Heine, the Food Bank of WNY’s President & CEO, passed away; Marylou Borowiak became the new President & CEO of the Food Bank of WNY.  The Food Bank of WNY was instrumental in providing for basic needs in the local Cattaraugus-Chautauqua flood disaster.       

 

2010                  The milk voucher program, a way of distributing more nutritious product to our agencies’ clients, was introduced.  E.W. Dann Stevens, a co-founder and Chair Emeritus, passed away.  The multi-purpose room was renovated to accommodate the nutrition/education classes.  We updated our fleet of vehicles with a new refrigerated trailer and a dry box trailer.  Our mission statement, vision and logo were updated.

 

2011                  Collaborated with St. Susan’s to introduce Partners Fighting Hunger in Chautauqua County.  Funds were raised to purchase a new box truck to distribute food to member agencies.  We partook in the Going Green project for both the interior and exterior lighting of the building.  The BackPack program was expanded, and our web site was enhanced.  Food safety training was completed for all member agencies.

 

2012                  An Endowment Plan was formally adopted by the Board and is designed to create a longer term source of revenue.  We began planning for Direct Delivery to 90% of our Erie County Member Agencies.  We collaborated with the Niagara Community Action Program and Cornell Cooperative Extension to install a new cooler at the Niagara County Distribution Center in order to increase local produce distribution.

 

2013                 Achieved a milestone of 300 million pounds of food distributed to those in need within Western New York through our Member Agencies.  Began the process of converting Erie County Member Agencies to Direct Delivery.  Created the “Food Bank of Western New York Food For Tomorrow Society” for Supporters who make a planned gift.

 

2014                 The largest distribution week was recognized the first week of November with over 550,000 pounds of food distributed to our Agencies coupled with the largest annual distribution levels in Food Bank history with over 14,000,000 pounds of food.  Direct Delivery Program for all Erie County Agencies was completed in half of the time originally projected:  7 months vs. estimated 14 months.

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