The second of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is “Zero Hunger” and it is of particular interest to us. In this land of plenty, it would seem that everyone gets enough to eat but, that isn’t so. Even here in the Ithaca Bubble, that ten square miles surrounded by reality, there are people without enough to eat:
5 facts about hunger in Tompkins County*
1) 13,280 people do not have regular access to enough food for an active, healthy life.
2) 3,040 of those without regular access to enough food are children.
3) 28 % of K-12 students are eligible for the free lunch program
4) ~6000 residents have both low income and low access to a grocery store.
5) The Food Bank of the Southern Tier distributes about 1 million pounds of food in Tompkins County.
We work with students in SWIFT (Stop Wasting Ithaca’s Food Today) and the Friendship Donation Network (FDN) to donate food to the Ithaca Rescue Mission. Last year over 7,000 pounds of leftovers fed hungry people in Ithaca. You can volunteer with FDN, they can use your help in picking up food by joining one of their teams that pick up surplus, edible food every day and make sure it goes to someone who is hungry.
Another way to fight hunger is to donate money to programs that help people have enough to eat. Ithaca Dining Services kicks off our annual campaign to raise money for the Food Bank of the Sothern Tier’s BackPack program. Many children who receive free and reduced priced school meals go without the nutrition they need on weekends and holiday breaks when school is not in session. Donating $3 will provide one of these children who are at risk of hunger with a bag of nutritious food each Friday throughout the school year.