ELMSFORD, N.Y. – The holiday season is usually the biggest donation time for food banks, but Food Bank For Westchester (FBW) hopes to inspire others to remember the hungry every time of year.
In observance of September as Feeding America's Hunger Action Month, the FBW announced Thursday its "Go Orange To End Hunger," campaign – a month-long campaign to raise awareness of Westchester's hungry residents.
Rick Rakow, chairman of the FBW Board of Directors, said that 200,000 people in Westchester County are hungry or food-challenged, the largest portions of which being children and seniors.
New York State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins also spoke, clad in an orange suit.
"We're not in November. People think about hunger around Thanksgiving. Everybody is doing things, donating, because thats when our consciousness gets raised," she said. "Without the spotlights or glow of the holidays, without any prodding, (Food Bank of Westchester) understands responsibility, and they meet that responsibility without question and without stopping."
"Remember, our neighbors are hungry every single day," she said. "Go to a soup kitchen. You will be amazed at who you see standing in those lines."
Shawn Patterson-Howard, CEO of the Yonkers Family YMCA and former employee of the Mount Vernon Family YMCA, thanked FBW for being a partner to both organizations.
"Through our partnership with FBW, we're able to serve 150,000 hot meals to families, children and seniors at the YMCA annually," she said. "We've really been working to expand healthy food options in the community of Yonkers."
"It's just great when we even see kids lose weight, not because they're hungry, but because they're eating healthier because of the healthy food options the FBW is making available to families who really need the support."
George Oros, Chief of Staff for Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, spoke on behalf of the county executive, thanking the volunteers for their hardwork.
"When I go around and tell people I'm from Westchester County, they get this image of unending wealth and there really isn't any poverty or people going hungry," he said. "All you have to do is travel around this county to realize there are pockets of that everywhere."
The FBW is encouraging supporters to take selfies wearing something orange, a dpost them to their Facebook and Twitter pages. They are also encouraging supporters to post them to Facebook and Twitter with the tags @foodbankforwestchester, #hungeraction, @feedingamerica, #FB4W and #goorange. They can also email their selfies to the Food Bank here.
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