The American Red Cross of Tompkins County received approximately 500 pounds of non-perishable food items from the first ever “Cans Along Cayuga” food drive organized by Cayuga Radio Group and the United Way of Tompkins County. This food will stock the shelves at the Red Cross Food Pantry located at the Red Cross Friendship Center and Shelter at 618 West State Street in downtown Ithaca. The Learning Web also received foodstuffs from this event.
Last year, 2,947 people received emergency food through the Red Cross Food Pantry.
“There are so many people right now who are working but not able to make ends meet. We’ve seen such a large need that it has been a real struggle to keep pace with it,” says Deb Pierce, Red Cross Shelter Manager. “It’s getting harder and harder for our funds to stretch through the end of our fiscal year. This generous gift of food couldn’t have come at a better time for us.”
Cayuga Radio Group, in conjunction with the United Way of Tompkins County, organized the first ever “Cans Along Cayuga” food drive to occur during the Ithaca Festival Parade on May 29. Parade goers were encouraged to bring canned goods to “line” the parade route. These food items were distributed to local food pantries by the United Way.
The event was the brainchild of Chet Osadchey, Vice President and General Manager of Cayuga Radio Group and member of the Board of Trustees of the United Way of Tompkins County.
“I felt that our radio group’s traditional participation in the annual Ithaca Festival Parade could be enhanced with our creating a grassroots effort to highlight the hunger issue and visually demonstrate the power of individual commitment towards a collective greater good,” said Osadchey. “The event exceeded our expectations for the first year. It showed the power of radio to reach and impact, and highlighted the generosity of our community and our partners.”
“In the face of what seems to be unrelenting demand for food assistance, caring and creative employers like Chet and Cayuga Radio Group make a difference,” said James Brown, President of the United Way of Tompkins County. “They provide opportunities for community members to care and share needed resources with dedicated providers like Red Cross and The Learning Web. United Way volunteers and staff appreciate the opportunity to be a part of this successful effort.”
“We are very grateful for the deep generosity of our community,” says Toni Sacco, Tompkins County Red Cross Branch Manager. “We’d like to express our gratitude to our friends at Cayuga Radio Group and the United Way for organizing this wonderful event, and to all those who brought a can to the parade. It is only with your help that we can eliminate hunger in our community.”
This food supplements what the Red Cross has received through an ongoing food drive that kicked off this past March for Red Cross Month. Thirty-seven local businesses and organizations have or are scheduled to run month-long food drives through the end of the year. Participating organizations include Neighborhood Pride, P & C Fresh, and Staples.
To learn more about how to involve your organization in a food drive, please contact the Tompkins County Red Cross at (607) 273-1900.
“By the end of the parade, when you see a giant trailer filled with canned goods, it is an incredible sight,” says Osadchey. “Whether it is the people along the route watching or our staff collecting and stacking, everyone looks and says, ‘Wow! We did that!’ ”