Niagara Gazette —
Lawson noted that the WNY Food Bank serves 16 elementary schools in Erie, Niagara, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties, including four schools in the Niagara region — Kalfas, Cataract Elementary, Harry F. Abate Elementary and the Niagara Charter School. There are 15 schools on the waiting list, she said.
“There are 3 more schools in the Niagara Falls area we would like to be helping, based on their need,” she added, noting that the public is encouraged to participate. “We need people who are committed to their school in their community. Even a small donation can go far,” she said.
School principal Mary Kerins welcomed the assistance. “A child who is not hungry is a child who can come in an learn and give it their best,” she said.
“We know you are making a positive difference,” Kerins told the KeyBank representatives at the event, who included Ralph Aversa, a senior loan officer, and Sharon Highfield, a vice president and manager of the bank’s Main Street branch. Also in attendance was Carol Palumbo, who helped bring the program to the school when she worked with Niagara Community Action — who has since taken a job at the WNY Food Bank, and Michael Billoni, public relations director at the food bank.
Afterward, the importance of the BackPack program was summarized by Lawson. “This isn’t so much charity, but an investment in these kids,” she said. “It’s not giving them a crutch today, it’s enabling them to be productive tomorrow.”
WANT TO HELP? Numbers to call to help with the BackPack Program: • Henry J. Kalfas Elementary School, 278-9180 • Food Bank of WNY, 852-1305