Binghamton University Dining donates nearly 10,000 meals to the hungry

April 06, 2018

A coordinated effort by Binghamton University Dining Services (BUDS) and students helps fill a bus with 7,125 pounds of donated food which converted to nearly 10,000 meals.

The program was a comprehensive initiative spearheaded by BUDS that involved numerous campus departments and students. Results benefited students in need on campus and hungry families in the community. Non-perishables as well as fresh produce were donated.

“We also hosted an internal contest for our cashiers - those who were able to sell the most non-perishable items for donation received a $25 gift card as well as a gift card of equal value donated to the food bank in their name,” said Marketing Coordinator Casey Slocum.

BUDS placed food barrels in multiple dining locations for the week-long drive, where students, faculty, and staff could purchase and drop in donation items. Additional facets of the drive included a campus department challenge in which the department with the most donated items won a $500 catering credit and a student group challenge in which the group with the most donated items a won pizza, wings and ice cream party for 100 people. 

Binghamton University Transportation and Parking Services (TAPS) helped establish a program which allowed students to bring in two or more non-perishable food donations and their qualifying parking citations were excused.

“The overall collaboration of this initiative was inspiring. TAPS let us borrow one of their green buses for twenty-four hours, let us decorate it, fill it - and they even drove the bus to the food bank for us,” said Slocum. “The Dean’s team was also on hand to assist our student employees with collecting all of the campus department and student group donations on the last day of the food drive!” 

Some of the produce donated was bagged by students and was given to seventy-five families in need as identified by the Cornell Cooperative Extension.

"We have a very generous student body who donated food items to go to the local community CHOW, as well as Bear Necessities, which is our on-campus food pantry," said Dining Services Community Liaison Lori Benson. 

CHOW, the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse, feeds the hungry of Broome County - where Binghamton University is located - through a network of over 30 food pantries and 35 soup kitchens and community meal programs. CHOW distributes about 2 million pounds of food each year. The Bear Necessities Pantry provides a variety of food and personal care items for Binghamton University students in need. 

"I think we are overwhelmed this semester with the amount of food donated and the students, faculty, and staff have a heart for the people of this community and on their campus and it's really cool to be a part of it," Benson continued. 

The campus food pantry is often overlooked by community members, because many don't realize the struggle college students may face.