News Release
 September 16, 2021
CONTACT: Kathy Sautter
716 635 5577

(Williamsville, NY) – Last month Tops partnered with local vendor partners to help fill backpacks with school supplies to give students a good start to the school year. This collaboration was all in honor of one of Western New York’s biggest superfans, Ezra “Pancho Billa” Castro whose mission was to make certain that Buffalo kids had the tools they needed to succeed. Thanks in large part to the generosity of these vendors, Tops will be able to present The Teacher’s Desk with the proceeds for PanchoPacks in the amount of $30,000. The check presentation will take place at The Teacher’s Desk on Friday, September 17, 2021 at 11:30 am. The Teacher’s Desk is located at 22 Northampton St. in Buffalo.

Our gratitude goes out to our local partners: Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Lactalis-Galbani, Kreher Family Farms, Chef's, Perry's Ice Cream, Sahlen's, Niagara Chocolates/Sweetworks, Rosina, General Mills, Kraft, Pepsi Cola, Land O' Frost, Butterball, Coca-Cola, Ferrero, Farm Rich, Clarksburg Cider, Artisanal Brewing Ventures, Buffalocal, Community Beer Works, Ellicottville Brewing Co., Big Ditch Brewing, Flying Bison, and Resurgence Brewing.

Not only did the vendor community step up, but so did local business owner, Kristi Smith-Mora of Bella Kids, who knew she had to get involved as soon as she heard about the program. Kristi set to work hosting a weekend long fundraiser matching dollar for dollar in donations in addition to donating all of the proceeds from their VIP Charity tickets.

“When John Mika from The Teacher’s Desk reached out for our help, we immediately knew we had to do something,” said Diane Colgan, senior vice president, for Tops Friendly Markets. “It never ceases to amaze me the way we as a community rally together to support our children as we work together toward a shared vision.”

The Teacher’s Desk is a store where teachers shop free for items needed for their students to succeed in education. They annually distribute over $6 million in new school supplies to 6,000 teachers located at 250 schools serving 150,000 students. For the past three years, The Teacher’s Desk has provided 30,000 backpacks filled with school supplies, hygiene items, and books to children in need. This fall, they have a goal to make 13,000 more “PanchoPacks” for local kids going back to school.


About Tops Friendly Markets Tops Markets, LLC is headquartered in Williamsville, NY and operates 157 full-service supermarkets with five additional franchise stores and is the largest private, for-profit employer in Western New York. As a leading grocery retailer in New York, northern Pennsylvania, and western Vermont, and with the support of 15,000 associates, our core mission is to help our communities flourish. We support programs that seek to eradicate hunger and disease; promote the education of our youth; and to ensure we reduce environmental waste and energy consumption while providing our customers with sustainably sourced, high quality products. For more information, visit

About the Teacher’s Desk The Teacher's Desk supports students in pre-K through the 12th grade that have 70% or more of students participating in the Federal Free or Reduced School Lunch Program. Schools that are participating in the program are located throughout our communities in all eight Western New York counties of Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans, Wyoming as well as schools in Monroe and Livingston counties.


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