Prize-Winning Bearcat gives back to Binghamton University Food Pantry

March 01, 2022

Written by Elaina Bonora, BUDS Editorial Intern
Each semester, Binghamton University Dining Services (BUDS) promotes Sodexo’s national sweepstakes, encouraging students to enter to win prizes and the opportunity to give back. The recent Pedal Forward, Give Back Sweepstakes was centered around taking action and making steps towards positive change. Winners of the sweepstakes were prized with a $500 donation made in their name to a local hunger-related charity of their choosing, as well as two cruiser bikes; one for them and one for a friend. Nineteen winners were chosen at random from around the country, and Binghamton University freshman Catherine Iriarte was one of them! 
Catherine decided to make her donation to the Binghamton University Food Pantry, an on-campus resource available for students facing hard times and is equipped to provide a variety of food and personal care items for those in need. 
When asked why she chose to donate to the on-campus resource, Catherine said, “I chose the Food Pantry because I have a friend who has used their resources in the past. When it came to making the decision, I thought of her, and thought that it would be nice to give back to our campus and help other students like her.”
Assistant Director of Parent and Family Programs and Food Pantry Operations, Linda Salomons, commented on Catherine’s generosity saying, “I always find it so touching when I see students showing empathy and compassion for their peers. Catherine acknowledged that food insecurity affects college students with her choice of making the donation to the Food Pantry. Those funds will help alleviate some of that stress for her fellow students at Binghamton.”
BUDS held a celebratory presentation at C4 Dining Hall on February 10, which served as a formal congratulations to Catherine, as well as an opportunity to highlight the Food Pantry. The event was appropriately decorated with bicycle-themed balloons and colorful streamers and was attended by many, including a group of Catherine’s friends!
During the festivities, Catherine received a gift card for the two cruiser bikes, and an oversized ceremonious check, which she presented to a representative of the Food Pantry. Catherine spoke fondly of the event stating, “When I found out that there was going to be a ceremony, I did not expect everything that was set up; it really was great! It was also nice to see how important the donation was to the Food Pantry.” 
Wondering how you could be the next big BUDS sweepstakes winner? Be on the lookout for the Share the Wealth Sweepstakes advertisements around campus for a chance to win a $500 cash prize and a $500 donation in your name to a campus or community food bank of your choice! The sweepstakes will be running until April 11, so make sure to enter soon and you too can help out your community and win a fun prize just like Catherine!