November 6, 2019

Member Spotlight: The Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York

The Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York was founded in 1982. The Food Bank collects large donations of food from the food industry and distributes it to charitable agencies serving hungry and disadvantaged people in 23 counties. From Plattsburgh to Newburgh, in urban, rural, and suburban communities, the Food Bank provides over 35 million pounds of food a year to 1,000 agencies. The majority of that food is donated by the food industry because it is unmarketable for some reason (overproduced/surplus, production errors etc.). People are shocked to see how much food would otherwise go to waste if not for the Food Bank.

More than 60% of all the food provided by food pantries in their 23-county service area comes from the Food Bank. These programs rely on the Food Bank to meet the needs of hungry people throughout eastern New York. It takes hundreds of food donors, many trucks and help from over 15,000 volunteers a year to make this happen!

Recently, the Chamber helped recruit the first chairpersons for the Food Bank’s Chefs & Vintners’ Harvest Dinner (which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year). Food Bank staff has also served on Chamber committees and connected with members to increase awareness of their organization.

What’s the nicest thing someone has said about the Food Bank? Says one employee, “I once walked into a restaurant and when I gave my name for a takeout order, a woman stood up and said, ‘thank you for the work you do,’ and then told my daughter she should be proud of the work her father does. Those were compliments for the Food Bank, not for me. They made me proud the Food Bank has such a positive reputation in the community.”