Cornell Students for Hunger Relief raised $7,000 for its annual Thanksgiving Turkey Donation Drive Friday, meeting its goal after a 40-day drive. The funds will provide local food pantries with 500 turkeys.
This year, the organization saw an increase in demand from the food pantries it serves, with Groton Food Providers requesting 180 instead of 150 turkeys and Feed Elmira requesting 320 turkeys, an increase from last year’s 150, according to Matthew Cohen ’16, president of Cornell Students for Hunger Relief.
As a result, the organization — an extension of the Cornell Public Service Center that aims to battle and increase awareness of local food insecurity — commenced the drive earlier than previous years, according to co-publicity chair Cathy Zhang ’18.
Cornell Students for Hunger Relief also employed a variety of fundraising methods and worked with a number of organizations on campus including social fraternity Acacia and service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, according to Zhang.
“Some of the funds come from proceeds from our cookbook called the ‘Big Red Cookbook,’ which sells in The Cornell Store,” Zhang said. “Most of the funding comes from community donations, donations from Cornell students, family members and volunteers collecting donations throughout campus.”
The Cornell Store’s online donation system “was the key” to the drive’s success, according to Cohen. He added that after meeting the fundraising goal, the organization plans to continue to coordinate with the involved food pantries by distributing funds accordingly and enlisting volunteers to distribute the turkeys to families.
“Later this week, cheques will be distributed to Groton Food Providers for $2,520, which is equivalent to 180 turkeys, and another cheque will be made payable to Feed Elmira for $4,480, which is equivalent to 320 turkeys,” Cohen said. “There will also be an opportunity for students to be directly involved in the distribution of the turkeys.”
Zhang said she is looking forward to attending the turkey distribution because the Public Service Center received so many positive responses last year.
“It’s really cool to see how the process gets carried out, from raising the money to actually being able to give turkeys to the families,” she said.
Cohen said he is grateful for the Cornell community’s enthusiastic involvement in achieving this year’s goal.
“By donating the turkeys, our goal is to also provide the Cornell community the opportunity to reflect on the fact that when you sit down to enjoy your turkey dinner, another family in our community has the same opportunity — an opportunity they may not have without the help of the Cornell community,” he said.