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New York City's Banking Industry Kicks-Off Largest Food Drive Effort to Help the Hungry During the Holiday Season

New York, NY (October 27, 2004) — A recent study by the Food Bank For New York City found that at least two million New Yorkers are at risk of going hungry. To help ensure that soup kitchens and food pantries are stocked for 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 one million pounds of food, enough to provide an additional 700,000 meals to those in need.

Partner banks include Washington Mutual, Credit Suisse First Boston, Deutsche Bank, HVB Group and Lehman Brothers. Media partners include amNewYork, Forbes, New York Moves, Time Out New York, WB11 and 1010 WINS. 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 and we are so grateful to the banking community and all of our private sector partners for their invaluable support in meeting this challenge."

According to the Food Bank's Hunger Safety Net 2004: Measuring Gaps in Food Assistance in NYC, at least 2 million residents across the five boroughs at risk of going hungry. The city's emergency food programs — approximately 1,100 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. The face of hunger has changed dramatically and most of the people in need of assistance 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, we will be opening our doors to everyone who wants to donate 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 over 240,000 free meals served each day by more than 1,100 nonprofit community food programs in the five boroughs. Last year, the Food Bank distributed over 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.

Lisa Jakobsberg or Carol Schneider


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