Malcolm Thomas / Hidden Pathway Photography

Photographer Malcolm Thomas partnered with Satori Salon to help battle food insecurity in Tompkins County.

August 10, 2018

Photographer Helps Battle Food Insecurity in Tompkins County

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Malcolm Thomas’s photographs of Ithaca wildlife hanging in the Satori Salon in northeast Ithaca are more than decorative; they are an opportunity to help fight food insecurity in communities across southern New York.

Thomas partnered with Satori to organize Food for the Soul, a fundraiser for the Food Bank of the Southern Tier. The photographs can be reserved by patrons of the salon for a donation of any amount, with all of the proceeds going to the food bank.

“I think a lot of people have concerns for people in need but it’s not always clear how we can help,” Thomas said in an interview with The Sun. “It’s sort of a way for me to combine my love for photography with a real desire to reach out to people in need.”

The Food Bank of the Southern Tier serves thousands affected by food insecurity in Broome, Tioga, Schuyler, Tompkins, Chemung, and Steuben county. According to internal statistics, they feed 18,860 people every week.

Thomas, who claims to have no prior experience with community service, recalls being prompted to action by flyers for the food bank in the mail. “I went down and visited with them and saw some of the really amazing, great work they’re doing down there. They are helping so many people with so little resources, it’s really amazing,” Thomas told The Sun.

In addition to funds, raising awareness for hunger among community members is an essential part of the Food Banks mission according to Krista Matia, community engagement manager for the food bank.

“We are thankful to Mick for thinking up this idea to support our organization. There is a lot of need in Tompkins County where 1 in 7 people experience food insecurity,” Matia said in an email to The Sun. “It helps us raise awareness of the need to [reach] new people and reach more communities who might not realize that hunger exists all over the Southern Tier.”

A network of partnerships with businesses, organizations, individuals, growers, and government groups make up the food bank’s efforts to alleviate hunger, according to Matia.

“That support allowed us to distribute over 12 million meals to our neighbors in need last year; and get closer to meeting all the need that is present in our six-county service area. We couldn’t do what we do without the incredible support of the community,” Matia said.

Until September 9th, photos of sparkling dewdrops and nesting birds will adorn the walls of Satori Salon with aspirational purpose, summed up by a flyer Thomas wrote for the occasion.

“My hope is that when you see this artwork on your wall, or give it as a gift, it will not only remind you of the beauty of nature, but also the beauty of community.”