Working together to build and sustain
hunger-free communities
throughout the Southern Tier.

Handing Carrots


Cornell University Students Give Back to the Community

Four Cornell University students recently volunteered their Saturday to participate in a cooking demonstration at Food Bank member agency Pennsylania Avenue UMC Food Cupboard in Pine City. The students have been amazing volunteers for the Food Bank, willling to take on any project, from packing food packs for the BackPack Program at offsite repacks in Ithaca, to preparing the Food Bank Garden for winter.

photo left: Lena Eskein, Dana Fader, Josh Pollock and Laura Fletcher

These students first came to the Food Bank of the Southern Tier as volunteers during “Into the Streets” last year – the annual “Day of Service” sponsored each fall by Cornell University where 5,000 student volunteers are mobilized throughout the community at different prearranged volunteer events.  On that Day of Service, this group of students volunteered to help glean a cornfield at Smithhome Farms in Big Flats. That local farmer had offered up the fresh produce – if we could come and pick it. So, on a very cold and windy Saturday morning, these students spent several hours picking corn and filling an entire Food Bank truck, which was in turn, distributed to Food Bank member agencies. That same day, this group asked to tour the Food Bank. They were so inspired they asked to be contacted with other volunteer opportunities.


These students possess an unending enthusiasm to make a difference in the lives of others – whether it is in their home community or their college community. The Food Bank could not do the work we do without our volunteers, and are thrilled to live in a community where so many people are concerned for others who are struggling with food insecurity.


Below are their accounts about volunteering for the Food Bank of the Southern Tier:


Lena Eskein

I am so glad to have been able to help out today at the food pantry. From the moment we walked in this morning, all the volunteers were so enthusiastic about what they were doing. Once people started to come through, I could see exactly why. The people who we served today were so friendly and so appreciative of our involvement. I was so happy to be able to make even a small difference in their lives. I hope to be able to come to volunteer again soon!

Dana Fader

Helping out with the food pantry has been an amazing experience. Sometimes helping others can be difficult, but when I am here with the other volunteers and the people who benefit from our involvement, everyone is so kind and grateful. I love being able to give back to the community, especially giving food to families who need it. I hope to continue to volunteer here as long as I am in Ithaca!


Josh Pollock.

I am so glad that my friends and I are able to volunteer our time and help the food pantry. It is a truly rewarding experience knowing that you are really benefitting the lives of families in this area. Back home on Long Island, we volunteered for local organizations. Part of going away to college means becoming a member of a new community and doing your part to help those who are a part of your new community. That is why I am so glad we all found the food pantry’s volunteer opportunities and cannot wait until we all help again!

Laura Fletcher
This experience has been so rewarding for our whole group. Although I can’t speak for everyone, I was very ignorant to the real struggle and widespread food instability in our community among our neighbors and friends. It has been so eye-opening to see first-hand what these community members are dealing with and to do our part in even a small way. The smiling faces of everyone we have helped today is more than enough motivation to return to the food pantry to help in any way I can during my time at Cornell University and afterwards. Thank you for allowing us to get involved!

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