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BTF and Food Bank Partner to Send Relief to Hurricane Victims

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Western New Yorkers continue to respond to appeals for help for victims of Hurricane Katrina. The Food Bank of Western New York has been transporting donations to the Gulf Coast region.

The local Food Bank already sent seven tractor trailers filled with donations from this region to Louisiana. Four area trucking companies donated trucks and drivers to deliver the products.

Food Bank executive director Clem Eckert says water and other non-perishable items were collected for the devastated areas.

"We're contributing products that are very easy to eat, in other words, products that don't require any type of electricity or heating. We sent down energy bars, cookies and beverages -- foods that people can get in their hands and eat right away."

Eckert says about ten food banks in the Gulf region were wiped out by the hurricane. But with the help of the organization known as Second Harvest, local donations are being delivered directly to Food Banks north of the Louisiana border.

"Through the efforts of Second Harvest and the trucking community, this product will get down there," Eckert said. "We send a real hats off to the community of Western New York."

Thursday, the Buffalo Teachers Federation donated $15,000 worth of bottled water and diapers. BTF president Phil Rumore says he felt compelled to reach out to help survivors. Rumore was so touched by the story of one victim, it brought tears to his eyes.

"I'll never forget the picture of a man who said he had to let go of the hand of his wife, and his wife actually said take care of the grandchildren," Rumore said.

Two tractor trailers are delivering the BTF's donation of 18,000 pounds of diapers and 25,000 pounds of water.