The Food Bank for Westchester has announced a challenge grant campaign to raise money for its move to a larger warehouse in Elmsford. Every dollar donated will be matched by Pat Lanza of Eastchester up to $750,000. For information and to donate go to www.foodbankforwestchester.org. Read on for more:
FOOD BANK ANNOUNCES $750,000 CHALLENGE GRANT CAMPAIGN
MILLWOOD: August 9, 2011: Philanthropist Pat Lanza, of Eastchester, is many things, but right now she is outraged. An estimated 200,000 people, a third of whom are children and nearly half seniors, are hungry or at risk of hunger in upscale Westchester County — and this infuriates Mrs. Lanza! So this tiny woman is making a big contribution to help the Food Bank for Westchester move into a larger space. The $750,000 Lanza Challenge Grant Campaign, announced this week, will remain in effect until January 1, 2012, so now is the time for donors to come forward.
WHAT: After years of searching, the Food Bank for Westchester has finally found and signed a long-term lease on a new home — a 36,668-sq.-ft. office-warehouse space in Elmsford. Moving to the larger facility will enable the Food Bank to nearly triple its food acquisition and distribution capacity now and well into the future. The estimate for renovating and equipping the new space is $2.2 million. Because the Food Bank has $700,000 in reserve from a previous campaign, the current fundraising goal is $1.5 million. The $750,000 Lanza Challenge Grant means that every dollar contributed to the campaign will be matched by Mrs. Lanza, in effect doubling the donation. The campaign will remain in effect until January 1, 2012.
WHY: Demands for emergency food have climbed steadily in Westchester County, particularly during the past five years, and the Food Bank’s 13,000 sq. ft. Millwood warehouse has become increasingly inadequate. According to Feeding America’s 2011 Map the Meal Gap analysis, Food Bank for Westchester is far from meeting the needs of our hungry neighbors. Based on the 2009 U.S. Census, more than 95,320 Westchester residents are not sure where they will get their next meal.* The 15,925,321 meals needed to feed those food-insecure residents converts to 20.7 million pounds of food per year. In 2010, the Food Bank for Westchester was able to distribute 7.1 million pounds of food, leaving a staggering deficit of more than 13.5 million pounds or 10.4 million meals. The increased capacity of the new warehouse will enable Food Bank to close the Meal Gap by nearly 83 percent.
WHEN: The Lanza Challenge Grant Campaign is in effect until January 1, 2011, but the Food Bank hopes to move into the new facility by year’s end so the sooner it reaches the $1.5 million goal, the better able it will be to fight the growing problem of hunger in Westchester.
HOW: Donations can be made online, by telephone, by mail or in person. Donors contributing to the Food Bank for Westchester should specify that their contribution is for the Lanza Challenge Grant Campaign so that their money is doubled!
WHO: Patrica Lanza, a resident of Eastchester, and her family have generously created the $750,000 Lanza Challenge Grant. The Food Bank for Westchester, one of eight food banks in New York State, is currently located at 358 Saw Mill River Road, Millwood, NY 10546, but is planning to move by the end of 2011 to 200 Clearbrook Road, Elmsford. The Food Bank acquires, warehouses and distributes more than seven million pounds of food annually to 227 local hunger-relief organizations, including food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, day care and senior centers. The mission of the Food Bank is to lead, engage and educate Westchester County in creating a hunger-free environment. For information, visit www.foodbankforwestchester.org or call 914-923-1100.
*Does not include those with incomes below the median but too high to qualify for federal or regional poverty programs.
Photo: Pat Lanza, left, Food Bank for Westchester Board President Rick Rakow and Executive Director Christina Rohatynskyj give thumbs up to the $750,000 Lanza Challenge Grant Campaign launched August 8. The campaign will help the Food Bank reach the $1.5 million goal needed to renovate and equip the now-bare Elmsford warehouse. The new facility, which is nearly three times larger than the Food Bank’s current headquarters in Millwood, will enable the Food Bank to better meet the rising demands for emergency food supplied to hungry people by 227 frontline programs throughout the county. The Food Bank hopes to be in the new space before year’s end.