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Operation Good Neighbor To Benefit From Food 2 Families Drive

7:26 PM, Dec 7, 2010   |    comments
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Operation Good Neighbor Feeds Western New Yorkers

NORTH EVANS, N.Y.- This Friday, 2-On-Your-Side is teaming up with Tops to help the Food Bank of Western New York.

One of several agencies that will benefit from the drive is Operation Good Neighbor.

"We have become the largest food pantry in Western New York," said Director Bill Roberts, "We passed out the ingredients of 310,000 meals this past year."

For visitors to Operation Good Neighbor, that means nine nutritionally balanced meals a week.

Without those meals, Roberts said many visitors would be in a dire situation.

"I think that they would really be hurting, we've asked that a couple times, and usually the immediate reaction is horror, what would I do, I don't know what I would do," said Roberts.

Roberts says this time of year, the need is the highest; part of the reason is the holidays make people more aware of what they don't have.

"They come out of the woodwork this time of year, because they finally got enough courage to ask," said Roberts. "They've waited, but now they say, oh my gosh, do I want Christmas to be like last year? And have a bowl of soup for my family for Christmas?"

That's where Operation Good Neighbor comes in.

First, each applicant's need is evaluated by a social worker-- then, they're invited to shop with the help of volunteers.

"We check the family's income against actual poverty figures, and our average family here is living at 43% under poverty," Roberts said.

The need is what keeps volunteers coming back.

They're appreciative of everything we do for them, and they do enjoy everything, but it's hard, it's hard to see people lined up," said Julius Tater, a volunteer since the pantry opened in 1983.

It became affiliated with the Food Bank of Western New York in 1985.

Tater says every year, the lines get longer.

"It increases, it increases quite a bit, with each year it gets bigger and bigger, and it seems like there's no let up," said Tater.

With six towns to serve, Operation Good Neighbor has plenty of "neighbors" to feed.

It's a program Roberts is happy to be a part of.

"It gives me a warm glow, and that makes my day, to know that look, look what you've done here," Roberts said.












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