College Teams with Food Bank of Southern Tier to Fight Hunger
November 30, 2015
The month of November at Tompkins Cortland Community College has seen an increased attention to issues related to hunger and food insecurities. The College has hosted several educational student activities, kicked off its annual food drive to support the Dryden Kitchen Cupboard, and hosted the first-ever visit to a college campus by the Food Bank of the Southern Tier’s Mobile Food Pantry.
“The theme of our student activities this month has been ‘Nom-Nom-November’,” said Deborah Mohlenhoff, director of student activities/student center. “This month has been a ‘food-for-all’ with an emphasis on education around food security issues. We’ve also provided plenty of opportunities for action, both to help others and for our own students to help themselves.”
A prime example was Grocery Bingo, where students played for the chance to win bags of groceries, but were also rewarded for bringing and donating a canned good to the food drive. Other events during the month encouraged donations to the food drive which leads to the annual CANstruction event December 3-4 where sculptures are made using canned goods that are then donated to the Dryden Kitchen Cupboard to restock shelves after the Thanksgiving rush. Additionally, the College hosted a ‘Grocery Shopping on a Budget’ workshop put on by the Cornell Cooperative Extension. “The goal is make the campus community more aware that there are people struggling to find food and what we can do to help, and for those struggling, to provide real help,” said Mohlenhoff. “Food security issues are everywhere, including on college campuses.”
“According to Feeding America’s Hunger in America 2014 study, ten percent of adults seeking emergency food assistance are currently students, including two million who are full-time and one million who are part-time students. Juggling competing responsibilities, including school, household budget management, and food security, can be challenging,” said Jen Edger, associate director of community programs for the Food Bank of the Southern Tier. “Thirty-one percent of households report having to choose between paying for food and paying for education for a child or an adult each year. The Food Bank of the Southern Tier got involved with helping Tompkins Cortland students after meeting with Deborah Mohlenhoff and Darese Doskal (director of residence life and judicial affairs). They expressed that there are students who experience food insecurity, and we wanted to help out.” The result was a visit by the Mobile Food Pantry to campus on November 10. On a rainy afternoon, 137 people received food, including fresh produce, dairy, and meats. The response was so positive the College and the Food Bank have agreed to hold another distribution in February and then discuss future collaborations.
“We are very grateful to the Food Bank of the Southern Tier,” said Mohlenhoff. “It made a real difference in the lives of our students and the entire campus community.”