NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Food banks in New York City received a huge boost in donations Sunday to help hungry families across the five boroughs.

As TV 10/55’s Ilana Gold reported, more than 5,000 pounds of donated food sitting in boxes and bags outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral will go to three major interfaith organizations in the city.

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The organizations will then deliver the donations to dozens of food pantries, soup kitchens and meal programs across the city.

“This is a critical, critical need, particularly as the winter starts,” explained Eric Goldstein, with United Jewish Appeal Federation of New York.

Goldstein said donations typically dwindle this time of year and added that he’ll use the food to fill a lot of empty shelves.

“The need is dramatic and not getting any better,” he said.

And it’s a need Cardinal Timothy Dolan recognizes.

“Is there anything better than feeding our neighbor?” Dolan said.

Dolan showed his support by lending a helping hand.

“This is not only a nice idea, this is a sacred responsibility,” he said.

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Sunday’s effort kicked off a campaign in New York City called Feeding Our Neighbors, which will run through Feb. 1, Gold reported.

For more information on Feeding Our Neighbors, click here.

“If we can start this year with a great push and make sure people aren’t going to bed hungry then we are doing our part,” said Jennifer Jones Austin, with the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies.

The goal of the campaign is to gather enough food to feed 1 million people across New York City, Gold reported.

“We know that’s just the tip of the iceberg but it’s going to go a long way,” Jones Austin said.

But the work of these charities won’t stop here. Leaders are pushing for more donations year-round.

“When you’re talking about 300,000 kids alone that are hungry in the greater New York area every day, we need more,” Dolan said.

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