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Food drive kicks off in region - Times-Herald Record

By Michael Randall, Times Herald-Record

Posted Jan. 23, 2015 @ 5:43 pm

CITY OF NEWBURGH – Hunger knows neither calendar nor season. To combat the typical January falloff in donations to soup kitchens and food pantries, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York is launching its annual Feeding Our Neighbors campaign this Sunday. Teaming up with Catholic Charities this year are 26 Hudson Valley region ShopRite supermarkets. The campaign was announced Tuesday in a news conference at St. Mary’s Church, one of four parishes in the City of Newburgh. 

“The fight against hunger is a year-round need,” said Tom Urtz, vice president of operations for ShopRite. “We feel a very strong sense of obligation … to give back to the local community.” The campaign will run through Feb. 7. ShopRite customers can donate either cash or cans of food when they check out. Many churches in the archdiocese will be collecting donations on Sunday. Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities, said the agency has “been feeding people for decades.”

But this particular campaign was born about five years ago, in the wake of the 2008 recession, which Sullivan said had “a very slow recovery period.”

Enough was raised last year for about 600,000 meals. Sullivan said this year’s goal is to raise enough for a million more meals.

Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus said the region still hasn’t recovered from the 2008 recession. “The need to put food in people’s homes is greater than ever,” he said.

The Rev. William Scafidi, administrator of St. Mary’s, concurred. He’s seen the need to feed people grow in the 18 years since he was assigned to St. Mary’s.

Urtz said all the food and money will “stay local” - going toward feeding programs in the areas where it is collected. mrandall@th-record.com