Anonymous donor energizes final month of United Way hunger and food security drive

March 8, 2013 by Mark H. Anbinder

In the final weeks of its 2012-2013 Community Campaign, which ends March 31st, the United Way of Tompkins County has some inspiration for a final push. An anonymous donor will match up to $20,000 of all contributions to UWTC's hunger and food security programs through the end of the month.

Volunteers assemble weekend backpacks with healthy meals and snacks for local schoolchildren. Photos provided by UWTC.Volunteers assemble weekend backpacks with healthy meals and snacks for local schoolchildren. Photos provided by UWTC.The United Way of Tompkins County supports the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, as well as other local organizations that work to feed the community. One particularly strong example is the weekend backpack program that provides local schoolchildren healthy meals and snacks to take home for the weekend, since for many kids, school lunches available only on weekdays are their only reliable source of good nutrition. Food-related events like the recent Downtown Ithaca Chili Cook-Off and Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation help draw attention to UWTC's hunger-fighting efforts.

"We need $171,285 to reach our goal," said United Way of Tompkins County president James Brown earlier this week. The campaign's overall goal of $2,155,000 will help to cover not just food security and hunger programs, but also prescription drug, student engagement, community care, and volunteer center funding, as well as support of many local non-profit organizations. "This is an uncertain and difficult period for many. Improvements in some areas of our economy have not been extended to all sectors, and households across the county continue to fall behind," Mr. Brown adds.

United Way organizers James Brown and Lynnette Scofield accept a donation from Stan Ossowoski of Dominion Transmission Inc.United Way organizers James Brown and Lynnette Scofield accept a donation from Stan Ossowoski of Dominion Transmission Inc."We are so close to our goal," says UWTC Community Campaign co-chair Lynnette Scofield, "and the money raised will do so much good, helping so many friends and neighbors of all ages in Tompkins County." 

"The Hunger and Food Initiative is so vitally important for everyone from babies to senior citizens," Ms. Scofield says, "and in this time of working on the campaign, we've seen such wonderful results from our participating agencies -- everything from beautiful fresh vegetables in some of the food pantries to holiday meals for those who are unable to leave their homes."

While many non-profits use a large portion of donated funds to cover administrative costs, including staff salaries as well as fundraising expenses, the United Way of Tompkins County says 100% of individual gifts go directly to supported programs and agencies. Administrative costs are covered by the United Way corporate cornerstone program.

Cornell University staff may download a pledge card at unitedway.cornell.edu to have donations automatically deducted from payroll, and anyone in the community can donate at uwtc.org.

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