Courtesy of Cornell University

Cornell Students for Hunger Relief will hold a food drive encouraging students to purchase goods to donate with their leftover BRBs.

May 8, 2018

Student Group Organizes Food Drive to Put Leftover Big Red Bucks to Use

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Cornell Students for Hunger Relief will host the seventh annual Big Red Food Drive, an initiative encouraging Cornellians to spend unused BRBs on non-perishable items to donate to local food pantries, from May 14th to 22nd at Robert Purcell Com­munity Center and Noyes Community Center.

Cornell Students for Hunger Relief is “a student-run program that works to learn about and educate the Cornell community about the food wastage at Cornell, current local and national hunger issues, and what individuals can do to help,” according to the organization’s Facebook page.

According to the president of the club, Juliet Remi ’20, the food drive began with the club’s founding in 2010. Remi said that the fact that Big Red Bucks, a University-run debit plan, does not roll over from the spring into the fall semester motivated the club to channel leftover BRBs “into the local community in need.”

“In Tompkins County, one in seven individuals is at risk for hunger,” Remi said. “[The club’s founders] recognized the need and saw how Cornell could try to address that need by encouraging students to spend their leftover BRBs and donate them.”

There will be two food collection sites this year accepting non-perishable items, one at RPCC and another one at Noyes. Remi said the RPCC location is being used for “the first time in a few years,” and that this additional venue will enable the student group to obtain “twice as many collections” as previous drives.

All collected food items will be given to Friendship Donations Network, an organization in Ithaca that collects donations from the club and then distributes them to local hunger relief programs, according to Remi.

Remi said that Cornell Students for Hunger Relief reached out to several other organizations on campus to recruit volunteers to manage collection sites. She said reaching out to APO, a co-ed service fraternity, the Cornell Interfraternity Council and many more on-campus groups has helped the club increase Cornellians’ awareness of both the drive and food insecurity issues in the local community.

Remi said she hopes through careful planning, effective collaboration and extensive outreach, this year’s Big Red Food Drive can reach the goal of around 3,187 pounds of food, which the drive reached two years ago.

“Be aware of issues not just in the Cornell community but also in the greater Ithaca community. You will see there are actually a lot of challenging situations that people are not aware of,” said Tom Ho ’21, secretary of CHR, on the importance of the drive.

“If you have extra BRBs, and you are not going to use them in the next two weeks… donate them,” Remi said. “If you don’t donate, volunteering is another way to get involved in the cause.”