With an increased demand for food assistance this year, Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County, and CHOW are teaming up to provide meals for families facing hunger this holiday season. The Holiday Giving Box initiative will raise funds from now until December 6th; all money donated will be used to provide a full meal for local families during the December holiday season. Lupardo, who Chairs the Assembly Agriculture Committee which oversees food-related policy, suggested the joint effort as a result of the increase in hunger locally and statewide.
“I am very happy to be partnering with CCE and CHOW to provide Holiday Giving Boxes to local families this year,” said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo. “Because of the pandemic, we know there is additional need in the community for food assistance. We hope these holiday meals, that includes locally-grown ingredients, will provide much-needed cheer to all who receive them.”
Starting today, the Holiday Giving Box donation web page is live; people can visit their Web site to give. $50 will provide an entire meal, but donations of any amount will be accepted. After the fundraising period, CHOW and CCE will work together to purchase and fill boxes that will be distributed the week of Christmas. Some of the items that will be in the boxes will include either turkey or ham, stuffing, cranberry sauce, sparkling cider, a pie, all provided by CHOW. Local produce including potatoes, carrots, beets and squash will be purchased from local farmers and will also be distributed.
“This is always a busy time of year for us at CHOW, but we fully expect an even bigger demand over the next two months,” said Mike Leahey. “Before the pandemic, we had about 25 thousand people in our community, or 13%, dealing with food insecurity; in just eight months, that number is now 35 thousand or 18% people in our county. This effort with Assemblywoman Lupardo and CCE will really help us reach more people during the holidays and we really appreciate their support.”
“Addressing food insecurity is a top priority for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County,” said Beth Roberts, Executive Director of CCE-Broome. “We are humbled to partner with Assemblywoman Lupardo and CHOW to provide a holiday meal that includes farm-fresh products. The fact that we can also support local farmers who sell at the Regional Farmers Market makes this effort even better.”Information on the Holiday Giving Box initiative will also be available at the Broome County Regional Farmers Market during market hours. Monetary donations will also be accepted at the Market.