Cornell Cares Day unites alumni, students in service

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John Carberry
Cayuga’s Waiters at the Blanchet House soup kitchen
Mary Lang
In Portland, Ore., members of the Cayuga’s Waiters helped serve a meal and then performed at the Blanchet House soup kitchen Jan. 10 as part of Cornell Cares Day.
Northern New Jersey's Cornell Cares Day
Nearly 90 participants participated in the Cornell Club of Northern New Jersey's Cornell Cares Day efforts at the Community Foodbank in Hillside, N.J.
Cornell Cares Houston
Cornell Cares Houston partnered again with the Houston Food Bank to prepare packages for a variety of hunger programs in their area.

More than 600 Cornell alumni and students came together in early January at 32 sites across the United States to connect and make a difference as part of the Public Service Center’s Cornell Cares Day.

A few events are scheduled for late January and early February (such as Cleveland, Ohio, Jan. 29 and Indianapolis Feb. 8); check the alumni events calendar for details.

At Cornell Cares Day events, students and alumni work together on service projects in their hometown. The Cornell Public Service Center (PSC) works with Cornell regional alumni clubs to implement the program, often finding agencies at which participants can volunteer and alerting student volunteers who will home for winter break.

In Portland, Ore., the Cornell male a cappella group Cayuga’s Waiters served a meal and performed at the Blanchet House soup kitchen as part of Cornell Cares Day with the Cornell Club of Oregon and Southwest Washington.

“The Cornell Cares event was a particularly special way to connect with alums while embracing the Cornell spirit of service,” said Alexander Cooper ’14, former president of the Waiters. “As a graduating senior, I was heartened by the event and the alumni community that clearly remains strong after graduation.”

Cooper also thanked Mort Bishop ’74, who has arranged the Blanchet House Cornell Cares Day event for the past three years.

“The Cayuga’s Waiters brought smiles as well as tears to the homeless in an indescribable way,” Bishop said.

Cornell Cares Day highlights from January included:

  • In Kent, Wash., the Cornell Club of Western Washington processed 6.5 tons of apples in just 90 minutes at Northwest Harvest food bank. Four years ago only six people attended the event; this year, attendance grew to nearly 60 participants.
  • In Visalia, Calif., the Cornell Club of the Central Valley and the Young Farmers & Ranchers of the Tulare County Farm Bureau hosted 18 volunteers who sorted and packed food for Food Link. Current college students, parents and alumni from Cornell, Yale, Fresno State and Calpoly San Luis Obispo also joined in the efforts.
  • In Texas,the Cornell Alumni Association of North Texas’ team served more than 300 hot meals at Stewpot, a resource center for Dallas homeless and at-risk individuals.
  • The Cornell Club of Austin, Texas,sorted, weighed, labeled and palletized more than 4,500 pounds of food and 3,000 meals for area residents at the Capital Area Food Bank.
  • Cornell Cares Houston partnered with the Houston Food Bank to prepare packages for a variety of hunger programs.
  • In Kansas City, Mo., 19 representatives of the Cornell Club of Mid-America put together more than 800 “Backsnacks” – backpacks of food sent home over weekends with schoolchildren who otherwise may go hungry until Monday.
  • The Cornell Club of Wisconsin-Madison hosted its first-ever Cornell Cares Day event and to support, founded by John Mennell ’82. The organization distributes new and recycled magazines to children and families in homeless and domestic violence shelters, and offers mentoring, job training programs and community literacy programs.
  • In Florida the Cornell Club of Sarasota-Manatee hosted its annual Christmas Party in partnership with Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Club members organized crafts and served food to about 200 people, and purchased dolls, crafts, games and sporting equipment for children. Teenagers received gift cards.
  • In Palm Beach, Fla., the Cornell Club of Eastern Florida spread five loads of sand in the Ibis exhibit at the Palm Beach Zoo and raked the area around the zoo’s new panther exhibit.
  • In Ithaca, N.Y., 23 volunteers with the Cornell Alumni Association of the Ithaca Area helped prep, serve and clean up at Loaves & Fishes food pantry.
  • The Cornell Club of Monmouth/Ocean Counties (N.J.) spent the day at Brighton Gardens, an assisted living home for seniors and saw a jump in attendees this year.
  • In New York City, alumni prepared and served 800 meals at St. Xavier’s Church soup kitchen.

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