Since returning from the August recess, we’ve had a busy month at the Legislature as we gear up for budget discussions. I am hopeful we will settle on a practical budget which funds core county services and retains our commitment to lower taxes. Once the County Executive submits a finalized budget sometime this month, I'll be looking for your feedback to help prioritize county spending. In the meantime, I’d like to highlight our recent volunteer efforts and some important initiatives I’m proud to be working on.
Last week, my colleagues and I made a trip to the Food Bank of Western New York to spend an afternoon volunteering in conjunction with ‘Hunger Action Month’ in Erie County. We received a tour of the facility and participated in the “Fill the Backpack” drive putting together bags and boxes of meals for children and families in need throughout the school year. Together, we packed 36 boxes to feed roughly 180 families. The staff and volunteers at the Food Bank do incredible work serving all of Erie county and Western New York. Once they secure food through partners in the food industry and from individual donations or community food drives, they then distribute it to their 335 member agencies throughout Cattaraugus, Chautauqa, Erie and Niagara counties. Because of their efforts and thanks to many generous donations, they are able to feed nearly 140,000 individuals per month. However, the holidays are approaching and there is still a demand for volunteers and a need for food donations. I encourage everyone to take a small part of their time this holiday season to give back and help those who need it most. For more information on the Food Bank's mission and how you can help, visit www.foodbankwny.org.
During my time at the Legislature, I’ve been proud to lead the way in county-wide anti-bullying efforts. Bullying and cyber-bullying is a pervasive issue that affects our entire community. In 2012, your Erie County Legislature passed a local law prohibiting cyber-bullying in Erie County in order to hold online harassment accountable. Because of my involvement in this issue, I am honored to be collaborating with the Western New York Anti-Bullying organization to launch a new initiative. This weekend, we'll be teaming up with SPAR self-defense to launch the WNY Anti-Bully project. The kickoff event is Saturday, October 6th at 2309 Eggert Road in Tonawanda. It is open to the public and will have trick-or-treat, face-painting police K9 demos, anti-bullying tips and more. It is sure to be a fun event for a great cause.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns regarding county-related issues, feel free to contact my office at Edward.Rath@erie.gov or 858-8676.