Written by Laura Guerrero-Almeida
The Stop Hunger food drive is a bi-annual event centered on raising supplies for students and Broome County residents facing food insecurity. This year, Binghamton University Dining Services (BUDS) will hold the campaign from March 26 to April 2. All contributions will go to the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse (CHOW®) and the University Food Pantry.
"The University Food Pantry is a safe, comfortable and judgment-free place," said Linda Salomons, Assistant Director, Parent and Family Programs and Food Pantry Operations. "Binghamton University students can get food, hygiene and household items to help them get through difficult times."
College students have enough stress, and food insecurity shouldn't be one of them. The Food Pantry is a resource students can turn to whenever they need it. They can order from a selection of fresh produce, frozen food, canned goods and toiletries, every week. The Stop Hunger drive contributes to the replenishment of these resources.
"Many people don't realize how prevalent food insecurity is for college students," said Matthew Pangburn, a student worker at the Food Pantry. "Not knowing where your next meal is coming from or if you're going to have enough money to buy groceries is a scary feeling regardless of your age."
In Fall 2019, 286 students turned to the Food Pantry. That number increased to 380 in Fall 2020 — a semester after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Especially given the pandemic, students' needs are greater," said Salomons. "The Stop Hunger campaign allows Binghamton students, faculty and staff to donate, even if just a few dollars, to help us stock the food pantry."
BUDS will allocate half of Stop Hunger's donations to CHOW®. The food bank supplies free food to over 100 partner agencies throughout Broome County.
"We are a food distribution operation that is hoping to end hunger in the county," said Les Aylsworth, CHOW® director.
CHOW® distributed 2.2 meals in 2020, totaling 185,000 meals per month. BUDS hopes the Stop Hunger drive will enable CHOW® to continue serving residents and forward their mission of helping our community.
"Sodexo has been a great partner with CHOW® supporting our efforts in the community," said Aylesworth. "The dining halls donate leftover food so that we can send it to meal sites. [The Stop Hunger drive also] allows the purchase of bulk orders of food."
The Stop Hunger Foundation began as a Sodexo-wide initiative in 1996. Its mission is to ensure that every child in the U.S. grows with dependable access to food. Binghamton University established the Food Pantry that same year; they have been working to meet students' needs for the past 25 years. We are proud to work alongside the University and CHOW®.
Anyone can donate at the checkout counters of all campus dining halls, Chenango Room, Einstein Bros. Bagels and the MarketPlace. Visit the Food Pantry webpage
to make additional donations.