After relocating to Ithaca for Fred’s role as Vice President for Alumni Affairs and Development at Cornell University, Fred and Susan Van Sickle took note when we received the 2017 Food Bank of the Year Award.
“Throughout our 37-year marriage, we’ve always supported the church and our alma maters,” Susan, a piano teacher, explains. “I had done food drives, but when I learned how much farther a dollar goes by giving to the Food Bank because they are able to access wholesale bulk food, I was impressed.”
The Van Sickles have devoted their careers to education and are particularly passionate about supporting children and families to have the security of knowing where their next meals will come from.
When Fred joined the Food Bank’s Board of Directors, the couple’s commitment to supporting Southern Tier families strengthened even further. “I think we were like a lot of people during the pandemic,” Fred says. “We wanted to do more to help and felt increasing our giving could really have an impact.”
With the ongoing support of committed community members like Fred and Susan, the Food Bank has been able to concentrate not just on pounds of food but on root causes of hunger, serving as a model for programs across the nation. “The Food Bank is very creative in responding to client needs; thanks to excellent infrastructure and donor support, the team can innovatively serve the region,” Fred reflects. Fred has a unique perspective, being both a donor and fundraising professional.
“It feels good to be able to help the community,” Susan adds. “When you see the scale the Food Bank is working on, you know you’re really making a difference.”