With winter around the corner, coupled by food scarcity that has arisen amongst the COVID-19 crisis, food donations are needed now more than ever. Recently students across NYS have participated in Trick-or-Eat food drives, organized by the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), in preparation for the upcoming holiday season.
Through generous donations made by the community, the New Paltz chapter of NYPIRG was able to collect around 200 non-perishable food items, adding to the 4,750 items that were collected throughout the state.
However, with 2.5 million NYS residents — nearly 25% of the state’s population — still considered food insecure post COVID-19, donations are desperately needed in order to keep up with the increased demand being put on soup kitchens and homeless shelters this year.
Shelters, food pantries and programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) all aim to assist those who don’t have the economic capability to pay out-of-pocket for a sufficient, healthy amount of food. However, most of these resources are usually underfunded and undersupplied, which is rooted back to a lack of donations being made by the community.
According to NYPIRG’s 2016 Hunger on Campus Report, nearly half of the surveyed students were considered food insecure and 22% considered themselves hungry, highlighting the fact that hunger is an often overlooked and misunderstood issue.
With that thought in mind, it is crucial that everyone is extra generous this holiday season; our fellow peers are in need of our help. Though the Trick-or-Eat drive may have ended, the New Paltz Food Pantry, located on the third floor of the Student Union Building, eagerly accepts donations year round. Before heading home for semester break, make sure to use your leftover dining or Hawk dollars, or even your own money, to buy non-perishable food items for those in need; it will make a big difference, especially around the holidays. Drop offs can be made in SUB 307, Monday through Thursday, 2-5 p.m.