BUFFALO, NY ( WKBW ) With a click, Buffalo and Niagara Falls, N.Y. hunger relief organizations could obtain $1 million to fight hunger...and WKBW Channel 7 and wkbw.com is helping in that mission.
As part of Walmart's $2 billion dollar pledge to fight hunger to Feeding America by 2015, the retailer has established a Facebook competition spanning 100 cities coast-to-coast.
Facebook users select a community to support by visiting http://fightinghunger.walmart.com. The link is at "News Links" at wkbw.com.
Food Bank of WNY spokesman Mike Billoni kicked this campaign off on Channel 7's "Eyewitness News at 5:30pm" on Monday.
Once you are on the site, click "Like" to register your vote. The Walmart Foundation will then donate $1 million to the community with the most votes and $100,000 each to the next five communities. The competition ends December 31.
"Right Now, it's about notifying the people of this community that something as easy as a click can help us fight hunger in a very big way," said Jeremy Juhasz, the Food Bank of WNY's Social Media and Web Site Coordinator. "This entire campaign is just another example of the power of social media and, specifically Facebook's influence."
Walmart selected the communities based on The Food Research and Action Center's identification of the food hardship rate for the 100 largest communities in America. Buffalo/Niagara Falls, N.Y. has a current hardship rate ( or those families who cannot afford food) at 14.6 percent. The National Average is 9.2 percent.
Buffalo/Niagara Falls, N.Y. is currently in 3rd place in the competition. The campaign opened on November 15th with Buffalo/Niagara hovering over 70th place after the first day.
"The progress to this point is quite encouraging," Juhasz said. "But we're not at the finish line yet. There's still time to vote and we encourage everyone to get their family and friends to vote for us."
If Buffalo/Niagara Falls, N.Y. finishes first and receives $1 million to fight hunger, a Walmart representative will work with the Food Bank of WNY to determine which organizations in the two cities will receive funding.
"This is such a wonderful opportunity to help us feed the hungry in Buffalo and Niagara Falls," said Marylou Borowiak, President and CEO of the Food Bank. "We have many great agencies in those communities."
The Food Bank of WNY, established in 1979, is a non-profit organization that collects and distributes food to its 400 member agencies in four counties including Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, and Niagara. The organization distributes 1 million pounds of food per month, assisting 96,000 people in need.