The following is a republished press release from a community organization or member and NOT written by the Ithaca Voice … to submit community announcements to The Voice, contact us at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com.

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(ITHACA, NY)  Cornell Students for Hunger Relief, a program of the Public Service Center, is once again hosting a Thanksgiving Turkey Donation Drive.

This year the anticipated need has increased to 500 turkeys for local families who are dealing with food insecurity. Launched on Monday, September 28, and running until November 13, the Cornell Students for Hunger Relief program is accepting donations to help support three food pantries — Groton Food Providers in Tompkins County, United Methodist Church FeedElmira- Pennsylvania Avenue and FeedElmira-Walnut Street both in Chemung.

The need for turkeys increased substantially from both of the food pantries served last year. Groton Food Providers saw their need increase from 150 to 180 turkeys. Pennsylvania Avenue United Methodist Church, which now is called Feed Elmira, recently opened a second pantry and saw their need increase from 150 to 320 turkeys.

“Many people have had unemployment run out, one or the other spouse has lost a job unexpectedly, there has been an unexpected illness in a family where medical bills have wiped out savings. In other words, they are more desperate for food and personal care items than ever before – often going without basics like toilet paper and toothpaste, etc. Their stories are unending,” said Darlene Bachman, Organizer of the Pennsylvania Avenue United Methodist Church Food Pantry.

Due to the increased need, Cornell students have begun the drive earlier this year. Their goal is again to work to effectively engage the Cornell community in understanding food insecurity and the severity of food insecurity on a local level. In addition to the increased need, the price of turkeys increased from $12 per turkey to $14 per turkey. This brings us to our fundraising goal of $7,000.

Last year, the student organization raised $3,600 to donate 300 turkeys.

When turkey recipients were asked how the donations made a difference in their family’s Thanksgiving meal, one recipient replied “Every morning I wake up and every night I go to bed worrying if I will have enough food for the next day for my children.  My kids are little and don’t really know you are supposed to have a turkey at Thanksgiving, so I thought we didn’t need one. I just go day to day hoping I have something to feed my kids. I come to the food pantry at this church a lot because I get extra food for my kids. I came to the second one in November and they were passing out turkeys! I never thought my family would have a turkey this Thanksgiving.  I knew I didn’t have enough money to buy one. I think there are so many caring people here who wanted to make sure all of us had a turkey for dinner!”

Each year hundreds of families in Chemung and Tompkins Counties depend solely on their local food pantries for basic food. The number of families pantries are serving makes purchasing enough turkeys financially impossible.

Cornell Students for Hunger Relief works to raise the awareness of food insecurity. By donating a turkey, our goal is to also provide the Cornell community the opportunity to reflect on the fact that when you sit down to enjoy your turkey dinner, another family in our community has the same opportunity to have a thanksgiving meal.

Cornell Students for Hunger Relief will be collecting donations on Mondays in Mann Library from 11:00am– 2:00pm, Wednesdays in Trillium from 11:30am – 1pm, Thursdays in Trillium 11:30am – 12:30pm, and Fridays in Mann from 12- 2:00pm.

Additional times will be posted on the Cornell Hunger Relief Facebook page. Donations of any amount can be made in the form of cash or a check made payable to Cornell University, with Cornell Students for Hunger Relief in the memo line.

The Cornell Store has again this year made it possible for donations to be made online using their online payment system. The Cornell Store will also be donating the 5% processing fee back to the Turkey Drive. Anyone who would like to make a donation online can go to the Public Service Center website at www.psc.cornell.edu and look for the Donate Online button under the Turkey Drive picture.

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Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.