Rochester, NY –The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra has collected more than 3,075 pounds of food in a little over one month as part of the national “Orchestras Feeding America” initiative through the League of American Orchestras (LAO). The RPO’s food collection ran from early March through April 3. For every 10 non-perishable food items donated, the RPO gave a voucher for a pair of tickets good for most of this season’s remaining concerts. By the end of the drive, the RPO had given out more than 300 concert vouchers.
The barrels of food were collected weekly and distributed by Foodlink, a Feeding America regional food bank, which estimates that the RPO’s 3,075 pounds of food would serve approximately 2,000 meals. Foodlink rescues and redistributes over 8.5 million pounds of food annually to a network of 550 member agencies in a 10-county area in central and Western New York.
“Given the state of the current economy,” said RPO President & CEO Charlie Owens, “it is especially heartening to see the generosity of the Rochester community for those in need. We are grateful to have been a part of such an enormous national effort making a difference in the lives of so many.”
According to the LAO’s March 30 press release, 250 orchestras in all 50 states mobilized their communities for Orchestras Feeding America, the first national food drive by America’s orchestras. As of today, the LAO reports that with less than 20% of the orchestras reporting their totals so far, more than 18 tons of food already has been collected.
Although Orchestras Feeding America officially began on March 27, many orchestras customized their drives to accommodate their performance schedules and their communities. Some offered tickets and discounts for food donations; others teamed up with fellow orchestras and/or commercial and neighborhood organizations to extend their reach in the community and to make it more convenient to give. Many groups also extended their food drives by weeks and months to help meet the demand for food assistance within their communities. For a complete listing of participating orchestras, visit www.americanorchestras.org.