December 14, 2016
M&T Bank, with branches throughout Western New York, has been collecting warm clothing for needy local families for 30 years with its "Gift of Warmth" campaign.
Western New Yorkers, from now until Dec. 31, can take their gently used coats, gloves, hats, mittens and scarves to the nearest M&T Bank branch.
M&T kicked off its 31st annual campaign with the help of the Buffalo Bills who did a special on-field presentation during their Nov. 27 game against the Jacksonville team. The warm clothing will be collected and given to the Buffalo Salvation Army to benefit area children and their families.
M&T Bank Group Vice President for Retail Banking in Western New York Jim Jarosz said the cold, snowy weather has hit Western New York, and this is the time to give back to the community and help people to stay warm during the cold months. He said every year, the bank's campaign collects around 3,500 items and they're hoping they can attain record levels in giving with the community's assistance.
Donations can be made at any of its 77 branches in Western New York. Most branches are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The Buffalo Salvation Army Executive Director Major Thomas Applin said many children don't have the right winter-weather clothing as they walk to school or wait to get on the bus. He said when families are facing a difficult time, they make financial decisions regarding their families including making sure the kids eat and have a place to sleep.
The community's donation to the Gift of Warmth campaign will offer them a small relief to those most in need. Applin said they are appreciative to everybody who partakes in the drive since it allows them to protect those less prosperous from area's harsh winters.
The annual event began in 1985 after an M&T employee came up with the idea to assist the Salvation Army to help local families. Since that time, it's become a community-wide effort that continues 30 years later. About 20,000 winter weather-related items have been collected for families since 2012.
Collection Bins are set up at many healthcare and senior facilities.