Broome and Tioga Counties look for ways to combat child hunger

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Broome County is examining and promoting ways to curb childhood hunger in our area.

Representatives from the Broome County Child Hunger Task force held a news conference at Catholic Charities in Binghamton to highlight Children’s Hunger Awareness Week.

Currently 1 in 4 children in Broome County are considered food insecure.

Efforts to curb childhood hunger include schools providing breakfasts and lunch along with efforts to supplement those meals when school is out of session during the summer and holidays.

Catholic Charities Emergency Services Manager Mary Whitcomb says many kids here and around the country are not getting enough to eat.

“It is often said that it takes a community to raise a child. The same idea applies to feeding children as well.  We’re in Binghamton, which has a 47% child poverty rate, in a country where 1 in 6 children go hunger,” said Whitcomb.

The Task Force is holding a few events this week to get the community involved in combating hunger.

Monday at 6 p.m., the Lost Dog Cafe in Binghamton will hold a screening of the documentary “A Place at the Table,” which gives an in-depth look at hunger in America.

On Friday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., volunteers are needed to pack lunches that at the CHOW Warehouse on in Binghamton.

They distributed to students who may miss out on meals when schools is out for summer.

And over in Owego the Tioga County Child Hunger Task Force is discussing their initiatives on the issue.

A roundtable discussion was held at Tioga Opportunities located in the Owego-Apalaching school campus.

In Tioga, 1 in 5 kids are food insecure while about 12 percent of kids are living below the poverty line.

Tioga has also instituted a lunch backpack program for kids during the summer.

The lunches are distributed at 16 sites around Tioga County.

Residents are also encouraged to donate food and money to the Feed Tioga organization.

While many people do donate canned goods, Tioga Opportunities Community Services Director Andrew Hafer says giving money can generate more food in the long run.

“A dollar is going to go further than donating a can of food. We can purchase food for a lower price through the Food Bank of the Southern Tier and that’s going to last a lot longer than someone just cleaning out their shelves. It’s not that it’s not appreciated, but it’s a fact,” said Hafer.

According to Hafer, over 500 students a day utilize the backpack lunches during the summer months.

On Thursday members of the Tioga County Hunger Task Force will be in the community promoting summer programs and opportunities to volunteer.

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