Niagara Gazette


October 18, 2013

WNY Food Bank makes sure kids eat well on weekends

Niagara Gazette — Stephanie Lawson stood in front of Kalfas Elementary School Wednesday and remembered the days when she went to school there.

Lawson, now 25, recalled the Halloween costume her mom made for her one year, putting coat hangers into her braids so they would stick out like Pippi Longstocking’s and how that delighted her teachers and fellow students.

She also remembers the delicious aromas wafting from the school cafeteria just before lunch time. To this day she is grateful she was one of the many children who qualified to receive a free lunch at the Beech Avenue school, because otherwise, she wouldn’t have been able to afford a hot lunch. 

Wednesday, it clearly gave her great satisfaction to lead a press conference about a program sponsored by her employer, the Food Bank of WNY, which has adopted a BackPack program at the school to assure that no child will go hungry on weekends, thanks to a $7,200 grant from KeyBank. 

Lawson, youth program supervisor for the Food Bank, was not the only one at the press conference who had roots at the school. 

Marie Hare, KeyBank vice president of civic affairs, is also an alumni of Kalfas, but when she went to school there, it was called Beech Avenue Elementary. “I attended this school,” she said proudly. “And I know Henry J. Kalfas for whom the school is named. So it seems fitting to be able to provide this kind of support today.”

As a result of the program, children identified by their teachers will receive a backpack full of food to take home for the weekend, including milk, juice, macaroni and cheese, granola bars and much more. School counselor Rebecca Tantill noted that every child in the school qualifies for the free breakfast and free lunch program, so the need is great. The KeyBank donation will fund the program at the school for one year.

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