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9th Annual MLK Day food drive continues despite COVID

Village of Hamburg

Even with the stress of COVID, the 9th Annual Martin Luther King Day of Service Food Drive will take place at Hamburg High School 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday, hoping for mass collection with only 10% of the volunteers of past years.
In past years, with around 400 volunteers from the village Parks and Recreation Department, Hamburg High School Academy of Finance, Feed Hamburg, FeedMore and The Service Collaborative, the drive collected around 15,000 pounds of food, most of which went to FeedMore to supply food pantries around the area

The Service Collaborative’s Adam Bartoszek said these events encourage people to develop a sense of service.

"When you provide an experience through service, that’s very powerful and when you bring people together from different states, different backgrounds, different ideologies, you name it, and you come together for a common goal and a common purpose, that’s very powerful. That’s something we strive for," Bartoszek said. "I, personally, myself, have served through AmeriCorps."

He said there is a rising demand for food.

"Incorporating our disparities in our area, in Western New York, we do have a lot of food deserts in our area, when you are seeing all the way from Niagara County to the Southern Tier," Bartoszek said, "and given what has happened with the acceleration of COVID in our community, naturally, what you are looking at are food shortages and food insecurity rates increasing, unfortunately."

Bartoszek said the few volunteers won’t sort the food as they have done in the past, but will simply collect it in boxes to go directly to FeedMore. He said the volunteers know everyone will have to do more with less this year.

Since 2012, the drive has collected 55,200 pounds of food, the equivalent of 46,000 meals.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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