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Giving the gift of time

Nov 24, 2020 | Foodbank Blog

This spring and summer looked a little different for Max and Maya Orenstein, who live in Dryden. After the pandemic closed most of the country, the teens, a high school senior and a high school junior respectively, found that their schedules and location shifted…

Max’s and Maya’s father, Mitchell Orenstein, is a Professor of Russian and East European Studies at Pennsylvania University in Pennsylvania, but previously taught at Syracuse University. This connection leads the family out of the Philadelphia suburbs back to Dryden every summer.

“We enjoy spending time in the area as a family. It allows us to step back and relax from our normal commitments throughout the year,” shared Max.

Given the opportunity of time, the siblings were encouraged to seek out ways to give back to their neighbors in need. The Orenstein family has been long-time supporters of the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, so it was a natural fit.

Throughout the spring and summer, the pair volunteered at various Community Food Distributions (CFDs) in Tompkins and Broome Counties.

“I went to my first CFD alone, not really knowing what to expect. I was surprised with the level of hard work it takes to complete a shift,” said Max, who is a rising high school senior.

Together, the sibling served at eight Community Food Distribution, contributing a total of 29 hours.

“We have witnessed people who are experiencing homelessness and those who are struggling to get by, but what surprised me was that so many of those attending CFDs could be described as normal people. It was very different than what I have witnessed before,” reflected Maya.

Since the summer, the Food Bank of the Southern Tier has begun to reopen Mobile Food Pantries, which allows us to serve more households across our 4,000 square mile service area. To learn more about available food resources, click here. To learn how you can give the gift of time, click here.