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The tractor trailer from Salt Lake City, Utah arrived at the Russell J. Salvatore Food Pantry and Outreach center in Lackawana shortly after noon with 14 pallets of donated non-perishable food items.

Over 7,000 Western New Yorkers will benefit from the generous donation to Catholic Charities of Buffalo food pantries last week, by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

A tractor trailer loaded with 14 pallets of canned goods and other non-perishable food, began its journey Sept. 11 in Salt Lake City, Utah and rolled up to the Russell J. Salvatore Food Pantry and Outreach Center in Lackawanna shortly after noon Sept. 16. It was met by Catholic Charities leadership and staff, who quickly worked to unload the 22,400 pounds of food.

“This will be extremely helpful to us in serving those in Western New York who face food insecurities,” said Eileen Nowak, director of Catholic Charities Parish Outreach and Advocacy. “It’s less money we have to spend to be able to get these items and we are so grateful to have been selected a recipient of the Church’s generosity.”

According to Nowak, the donation will be shared among the agency’s nine food pantries in Erie, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties.

Coordinated locally by Kristen Howey Dimick, New York communications director for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and President Neil Munro and Kate Munro, Church of Jesus Christ Regional Leaders, in celebration of the Church’s 200th Anniversary, the donation is part of the LDS initiative to donate to 200 food pantries throughout New York State. Catholic Charities is among nine area locations to benefit.

“As followers of Jesus Christ we believe in loving our neighbors and helping those in need. The good works of Catholic Charities exemplifies this, and we are thrilled to contribute to their efforts here in Western New York,” Howey Dimick said.

The donations are especially fitting for New York state since the LDS faith was founded in Palmyra and Fayette, New York. Currently, there are than 80,000 members in New York state and more than 5,000 in Buffalo.

“The generosity of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a wonderful example of the importance of collaboration and how successful we can be in meeting our kindred missions to help others when we all work together,” said Deacon Steve Schumer, president and chief executive officer of Catholic Charities. “It is critical that Catholic Charities remains a consistent system of support for our neighbors in need. Because of this donation, we will be able to do just that and have an even greater impact on our community.”

Catholic Charities of Buffalo has remained open and serving the eight counties of Western New York throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic. The nine food pantries operated during the mandated shutdown utilizing staff from other departments in the absence of volunteers and a contactless distribution model. Since March 13, 2020, Catholic Charities Food Pantries and Outreach centers have impacted the lives of 19,000 individuals in 9,000 families. A total of 6,364 applications have been processed to date, and 22,542 bags of food have been distributed.