The problem of food insecurity across America and even here Central New York has touched more families this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Berkshire Bank Foundation is helping fight food insecurity by donating a total of $130,000 to food banks. Although Berkshire Bank holds offices primarily in New England and New York, communities throughout the Northeastern United States will feel the effects of the foundation's generous donation. Food banks in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New York were included in BBF's list of donation recipients. Here in Central New York, the Food Bank of Central New York in Syracuse and the Utica Food Bank will each receive a $10,000 grant from the Berkshire Bank Foundation.

"At Berkshire Bank, we are committed to supporting our neighbors in need," Chris Papayanakos, BBF's Regional President in Central New York, said in a press release Friday morning. "This pandemic has resulted in an unprecedented number of people finding themselves food insecure, many of them for the first time. We are proud to team up with our local food banks to play a small role assisting individuals impacted by making this donation on behalf of our employees and customers during the holiday season."

Lori Gazzillo Kiely, the director of Berkshire Bank Foundation, said in the press release that the donations will go to food banks and pantries in the same communities their employees live and work, and where front line workers continue to fight for their communities.

"We would like to recognize and thank all those currently working on the front lines to help our most vulnerable community members meet their basic needs during this challenging time," Gazzeillo Kiely said. "Berkshire Bank employees regularly volunteer with their local food banks and pantries and hold deep appreciation and respect for the impact they have on our communities."

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