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Cornell leads charge to address local hunger crisis

Media Contact

Joe Schwartz

Cornell has launched an eight-week fundraising campaign to address the growing hunger crisis in Tompkins County and the surrounding area, announced University Librarian Anne Kenney, chair of the Cornell United Way campaign, in an email message sent Feb. 3 to all Ithaca campus faculty and staff.

“Thousands of families in our region are living each day with uncertainty about whether they will have enough food for themselves and their family, and today I’m asking for your help,” Kenney said in a video message that accompanied the email.

For the next eight weeks – through March 31 – the university will seek to raise $10,000 each week in pledges to the United Way’s Hunger and Food Security Fund. The pledges also will count toward Cornell’s 2014-15 United Way Campaign.

“In Tompkins County alone, an estimated 13,280 men, women and children – more than 13 percent of the population – are classified as food insecure,” said Kenney. Food pantries and local schools are seeing an increase in the number of people who depend on the food they provide, she said.

The United Way of Tompkins County not only is addressing immediate needs through food pantries and daily meals, but is supporting long-term initiatives, such as partnering with community-supported agriculture (CSAs), to increase access to fresh food. Donations and pledges to the Hunger and Food Security Fund will go directly to agencies that address these critical needs.

Small gifts can make a difference
Just $20 can enable a food pantry or community organization to buy 70 pounds of food through the Food Bank of the Southern Tier.

For $50, 22 people can receive a hot, nutritious meal or 170 elementary school students can receive a healthy snack of fresh fruits and vegetables during the school day.

A gift of $100 can provide a nutritious meal and advocacy and referral services to 12 people.

And $300 allows one family to receive a subsidized summer CSA share and have access to fresh local produce.

“We have a wonderful community that cares about one another, and I am asking you to help those most in need by supporting the agencies that provide food in partnership with the United Way,” Kenney said. “Our local nonprofit agencies will put every dollar you donate to good use. You can also designate a gift through the United Way website at uwtc.org to the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, the Friendship Donations Network, the Tompkins County Food Distribution Network, Loaves and Fishes, and Foodnet Meals on Wheels.”

To make a pledge or give a gift to the Hunger and Food Security Fund by credit card, go to gvgb.co/uwtc-hunger-food-fund. Cornell staff and faculty who would prefer to donate without using a credit card should go to www.unitedway.cornell.edu to get a pledge card and/or make a designated gift.

The 2015 Cornell United Way Campaign also ends March 31. As of Jan. 26, the campaign had raised $714,354.64, or 87.65 percent of its goal of $815,000, significantly below giving totals at this time last year.