Filling a need: Regional Food Bank celebrates 25 years

It was the start of a long relationship with Freihofer's and dozens of annual contributors to the food bank. Soon Price Chopper, Hannaford, Trustco Bank and Adirondack Beverages were among a long list of area businesses that were on board. The food flowed north, south, east and west to counties throughout the state, Quandt said.

Every day of every year, more and more volunteers and businesses are helping out with the food bank's mission. Their new offices and warehouse off of Albany Shaker Road buzz with life as Christy Calicchia and a team of Citizen Bank employees stock boxes with food.

"Food donations in summertime are less than normal so we wanted to help restock the food bank to make up for the shortfall of donations in summertime," said Calicchia.

She also sits on the Regional Food Bank's board of directors and donates her personal time to helping out.

Over the course of the last six weeks the bank has been taking in food and monetary donations at Citizens Bank locations statewide. Just in the 40 or so branches in the Capital District, the "Carving out Hunger" drive generated 24 boxes of food and more than $1,000 in donations, she said.

This year is Citizens Bank's third year helping the food bank continue its mission, said Calicchia. And that mission has not changed in the Regional Food Bank's 25 years, Quandt said.

"We help to alleviate hunger at the same time try to stop the waste of good food," Quandt said. "Clearly the need has grown."

With cuts to government programs and ever-increasing utility and gas costs, the need has certainly showed no sign of slowing, he said. The mission to end hunger mostly rests now of the shoulders of private agencies like Northeast Regional Food Bank, said Quandt.


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