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New York City's Banking Industry Joins Food Bank to Kick Off Largest Food Drive Effort to Help the Hungry During the Holiday Season


New York, NY (November 1, 2005) — A 210-foot-long Food Bank For New York City truck convoy, packed with canned goods, rolled down Ninth Avenue today to make the first food delivery of the holiday season at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen at 296 9th Avenue, in Manhattan. At least two million New Yorkers are at risk of going hungry, as found by a Food Bank study. To help ensure that soup kitchens and food pantries can feed those in need during the holiday season, the city's banking industry has teamed up with the Food Bank for the NYC Bank-to-Bank Partnership, a month-long, citywide food drive that will run through November. The partnership enables New Yorkers to make a different kind of deposit at their local bank branch — a deposit of canned food items for the city's hungry. The food drive is the city's largest, with a goal of raising enough support to provide an additional 700,000 meals to those in need.

Partner banks include Washington Mutual, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, HVB Group, Lehman Brothers, Valley National Bank, BNP Paribas and Ridgewood Savings Bank. Media partners include 1010 WINS, amNewYork, Forbes, Time Out New York and WB11. Additional partners are Bloomberg LP and UPS. 

"An overwhelming number of families and individuals will turn to food pantries and soup kitchens to make ends meet during the holiday season and throughout the year," said Dr. Lucy Cabrera, President and CEO of the Food Bank For New York City. "In the past five years, we have more than doubled the amount of food distributed to community-based food programs. Our NYC Bank-to-Bank food drive is the cornerstone of our holiday food- and fund-raising efforts to help the city's hungry. With two million New Yorkers at risk of going hungry and, with mounting support for disaster relief efforts around the country, we are challenged even further to provide help for New Yorkers in need. We are very grateful to the banking community and all of our private sector partners for their continued and invaluable support in meeting this challenge."

According to the Food Bank's NYC Hunger Safety Net 2004: Measuring Gaps in Food Assistance, at least two million residents across the five boroughs are at risk of going hungry. The city's emergency food programs — approximately 1,200 soup kitchens and food pantries — are providing food to half of them, but nearly a third of those at risk are not accessing any resources at all. Of the people in need of assistance, most are women with children, the elderly, the disabled and the working poor. In Staten Island, an area not traditionally associated with hunger or poverty, 52 percent of the population at risk of going hungry is not accessing any services at all, the largest percentage of all five boroughs. In terms of actual people, the Bronx has the highest population of at-risk residents not accessing services.

"Washington Mutual is proud to be a part of the NYC Bank-to-Bank-Partnership. Throughout the month of November, all our stores throughout the five boroughs, as well as stores in Westchester, will be accepting donations of nonperishable food items for those New Yorkers in need during the holiday season," said Donna M. Wilson, regional president, community and external affairs division, Washington Mutual. "Our hope is that more people in the business community will step forward and do their part. By joining forces with our community partners, we can make a significant impact in our communities."

Food Bank For New York City, the city's primary supplier of food for the hungry, helps provide the food for more than 240,000 free meals served each day by more than 1,200 nonprofit community food programs in the five boroughs. Last year, the Food Bank distributed more than 67 million pounds of food and was recognized as Food Bank of the Year by America's Second Harvest, The Nation's Food Bank Network. For more information, click here or call 212-566-7855.


Contact:
Carol Schneider or Lisa Jakobsberg
(212) 566-7855

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