Borough President Vito Fossella, District Attorney Michael McMahon Announce Bread Of Life Food Drive
Borough President Vito Fossella was joined by District Attorney Michael McMahon and students from across Staten Island to announce the 32nd annual Notre Dame Bread of Life Food Drive during a press conference in Borough Hall.
For the second year, the food drive’s catchphrase is "Fight Hunger, Not Each Other," which gives students an opportunity to contribute to the community in light of recent violent incidents in schools.
Students in both public and private schools will collect food for the drive, which will be distributed to 25 non-profit organizations on Staten Island that serve individuals and families in need of food.
“We always hear about a handful of bad kids, but the vast majority want to help their fellow sister and their fellow brother,” said Borough President Fossella. “That is what the Bread Of Life Food Drive is all about. This has been a labor of love for us for so many years because it is so important to the people of Staten Island.”
Across the country, 285 cities in 34 states participate in their own Bread of Life Food Drives.
“It started right here on Staten Island and it became a national model by building on the love that is so strong here,” Vito said.
District Attorney McMahon touched on the catchphrase.
“Recently, there has been violence within and among the population of young people here in our borough and that is very concerning to us,” said District Attorney McMahon. “By focusing on the love between us and not the anger, this program is going to make sure we all have a bright future. I know that you are all leaders in your schools and will bring that message back.”
Bread of Life Executive Director Joseph Delaney thanked the students who participate each year.
“Last year, when we totaled up what we collected in the Bread of Life Food Drive, there was a 12% increase in school donations than the previous year,” he said. “I attribute a lot of it to this get together, to your impetus in getting this started and to this work that you are doing for us.”
Claire Atalla, the CEO of Catholic Charities of Staten Island, one of the recipients of the food drive, said the nonprofit recently shifted one of its main priorities to food insecurity.
“You would be surprised to know that many of your Staten Island neighbors are food insecure,” she said. “They are people who live paycheck to paycheck, who can barely make ends meet, who are disabled, who are single parents, who are the victims of domestic abuse, who are between jobs. It can happen to any of us at any time and our job is to rally around our neighbors to make sure we help each other out. ‘Fight Hunger, Not Each Other’ is a true testament to what we need to do.”
Since its inception, the Bread of Life Food Drive has collected and distributed more than two million food items. This year, participating schools will collect non-perishable items through April 1. The food will then be boxed at Monsignor Farrell High School and delivered to the recipient organizations.