For the past thirteen years, the term Little Brown Bags of Hope has become synonymous with Tops Friendly Markets. What began as a one day campaign in Buffalo, NY to benefit the Food Bank of WNY has since expanded across the entire chains footprint reaching into Rochester, and Syracuse, NY as well as Erie, PA working with 10 food banks across all of the chains market and impacting more than 1.3 million people in need over the course of the past 12 years the campaign ran. In 2016 alone, and thanks to the extreme generosity of the Western New York community, over 185,000 pounds of food were donated.
The campaign, which had been expanded to run an entire month, officially kicked off November 19 and ran until December 16, 2017. New in 2017, customers were able to purchase a Little Brown Bag of Hope paper icon at the register. Organizers moved away from the physical bags of food to increase efficiencies, allowing the Food Bank to expedite donations from the store to their operating facilities and then into the market. At the register customers were asked if they want to support the campaign by buying a $5 Breakfast, $10 Lunch, and/or $20 Dinner for someone in need in our community. Also new in 2017 TOPS had introduced the virtual Little Brown Bag of Hope. Customers will now able to purchase the same $5 Breakfast bag, $10 Lunch bag, and/or a $20 Dinner bag online by simply visiting www.topsmarkets.com/littlebrownbags so no matter what the weather, a donation can be made right from their phone, tablet, or desktop.
In 2017 Tops exceed its goal as the company sold nearly 53,000 bags last year alone, which was a record. Tops supports 10 food banks through the program across the chain and provided more than 1.7 million meals for those less fortunate in our communities.
“At the WNY Food Bank we work to fight hunger one day at a time,” said Kristen Hanson, vice president, center store sales and merchandising, for TOPS and Food Bank of WNY board member. “As the primary hunger-relief organization in Western New York, programs and support like Food 2 Families and the Little Brown Bags of Hope is extremely important in supporting our mission."
"With nearly 179,000 individuals facing hunger throughout the Food Bank of WNY’s four-county service area, now more than ever we are in need of the community’s support," Tara A. Ellis, President and CEO of the Food Bank of WNY, said. "We are so grateful to once again be partnering with Tops Friendly Markets on the incredible annual Food 2 Families initiative. The donations from this drive helped us provide more than 1.3 million meals to the WNY community last year. With the holiday season upon us, there is no time to waste. All of us at the Food Bank of WNY are working hard to make sure our neighbors in need do not spend this festive time of year worrying about where their next meal will come from or deciding between food and other critical needs like medicine or heat. Of course, it is the support from our generous WNY neighbors that makes this possible. We cannot thank the community and Tops enough for coming out and supporting Food 2 Families."