Working together to build and sustain hunger-free communities throughout the Southern Tier.
The Food Bank of the Southern Tier is committed to creating a future without hunger where access to healthy food by all is recognized as fundamental to the well-being and success of individuals and the foundation of a strong, vibrant society.
Who We Serve
Our service area includes Broome, Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga, and Tompkins counties, covering nearly 4,000 square miles. Our partnership with member agencies across our service area is crucial to our mission as they ensure the food we acquire and distribute gets to the people who need it most.
In 2019, the Food Bank distributed 13.3 million LBS of food and grocery items through three main channels:
- More than 160 partner agencies, including food pantries, meal programs, shelters, after-school programs, and senior programs
- Food Bank direct-service programs: BackPack, Mobile Food Pantry, and Kids Farmers Market
- A partnership with CHOW in Broome County*
* Working in Partnership to Meet the Need
CHOW and the Food Bank of the Southern Tier work in partnership to leverage national, regional, and local resources to end hunger in Broome County. CHOW operates as its own entity, receiving food from the Food Bank of the Southern Tier and relying on food and monetary donations from local residents, organizations and companies to fulfill our collective mission of ending hunger for all.
Food Bank of the Year
The Food Bank of the Southern Tier was named the 2017 Food Bank of the Year by Feeding America. We were selected for being the most outstanding food bank out of more than 200 Feeding America member food banks across the country. This is a huge honor, and we couldn’t be more excited!
Winning Food Bank of the Year would not have been possible without the dedication, support, and hard work of many partners. We are inspired by our clients, agencies, donors, and volunteers every day, and being recognized at the national level only reinforces our belief that our neighbors in the Southern Tier are very special.
Most importantly, being named Food Bank of the Year is recognition that we’re on the path to fulfilling our mission: working together to build and sustain hunger-free communities throughout the Southern Tier.
We offer a heartfelt thank you to everyone in our community who made this possible. We owe it all to you!
History of The Food Bank of the Southern Tier
Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Rochester establishes the Southern Tier Office of Social Ministry in Elmira, NY.
Catholic Charities employees Sister Rosaria Hughes and Father Neil Miller establish the Food Bank of the Southern Tier. The Food Bank begins with a borrowed truck and operates from a small warehouse on Grand Central Avenue. Food is distributed and stored free of charge to all food pantries. The first Director of the Food Bank is Walter Kronicz and the first driver for the Food Bank is Bernie Stansfield.
The Food Bank Advisory Council is formed. Original members included David Biviano (chair), Bernie and Cis Seiser, Patricia Redman, Lois Cullinan, Reverend Clint Barlow, Bill Ramsdell, Anne DeMember, Jerry Palidino and Roy Farr.
The Food Bank moves to a larger warehouse location on Grand Central Avenue. The year is marked by growth in member agencies, and the first community appeal through solicitation letters. However, budget concerns arise.
The Food Bank’s budget issues grow. Food pantries and programs expand to more than 130. Food distribution increased to 100,000 pounds per month. An appeal to Chemung County for a $7,000 grant is made The Food Bank meets with its pantry partners and presents a plan to begin charging a $0.10 per pound shared maintenance fee to cover the cost of transportation and handling.
The Food Bank endures its first financial crisis and nearly closed its doors. Marketing and fund raising efforts intensify with newspaper ads, brochure distribution, car raffles and a direct mail campaign. The Food Bank raises $27,000. The Chemung County Legislature increases support to $17,000. The closing of the Food Bank is averted. The Advisory Committee restructured its operations, communications and fund raising committees. Irene Johnson is appointed as the Food Bank’s executive director.
The Food Bank enters into a contract with NYS Office of General Services to distribute TEFAP (USDA Commodities). The Food Bank is awarded a contract with NYS Department of Health under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) which later became known as the Hunger Prevention Nutrition Assistance Program (HPNAP). Both programs led to a significant increase in budget, staff and food. The Food Bank’s annual budget is $100,000 and food distribution is one million pounds.
Community members Bill Shaffer and Ron Pelino search for a permanent home for the Food Bank.
Nellie Monroe’s property on County Route 64 in Big Flats becomes available.
John Farrer is the Food Bank’s Executive Director. SNAP funds are used to purchase a drive-in freezer and truck. Plans are developed for the construction of a new building on County Rte 64.
The Food Bank expands its inventory to include purchased food, supplemented by SNAP funds.
The Food Bank moves to their new building in Big Flats. A day later the roof collapsed on the old building.
The Food Bank employs seven full-time staff with a $750,000 budget and installs a computerized inventory system.
Paul Hesler is hired as the Executive Director of the Food Bank.
In January 2003, the Food Bank is established as a subsidiary of Diocesan Catholic Charities with a separate board having exclusive focus on the affairs and needs of the Food Bank. Under the leadership of President & CEO Paul Hesler, and Richard Wardell, the first chairperson of the Board of Directors, the Food Bank take dramatic steps to increase its efforts to end hunger in the Southern Tier.
The Food Bank piloted the BackPack Program in three communities serving 100 kids per week. The BackPack Program is targeted to serve children at-risk of hunger by providing a bag of nutritious food each Friday throughout the school year.
The Food Bank facilities committee is appointed to study options for more space.
The first Mobile Food Pantry Program was launched in July. This program utilizes beverage distribution trucks retrofitted for food banking purposes to deliver fresh produce, dairy and other food and grocery products directly to the consumer in rural areas. The first two trucks were donated by John Potter and the Seneca Beverage Company.
Natasha Thompson is named President & CEO of the Food Bank. The Food Bank increases its food distribution by 30% to 6.7 million pounds to meet growing demand.
John Potter, owner of Seneca Beverage Corporation, approaches the Food Bank about buying his 65,000 square foot warehouse building in Elmira. The Corning Incorporated Foundation pledges $500,000 to the building campaign.