With the holidays right around the corner, the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse in Binghamton is receiving support from dozens of local volunteers, and even one federal leader.
Friday afternoon, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand joined Vestal Girl Scout Troop 30303 to make donations and sort inventory.
Fifteen thousand Broome County students rely on free or reduced lunches during the school year. With holiday vacations quickly approaching, many of those children will soon be without those essential meals to stay healthy.
“Those children go home to families who are already having problems with food security,” said Mike Leahey, C.H.O.W. director. “What we’re trying to do is prepare the meals that are going to be boxed up. They go to families who have been identified that are very high risk for food security during the break.”
Leahey said it would take about $7.8 million in food donations to solve the hunger problem. With just half of that number currently covered, a local Girl Scout troop is looking to step up.
“The Girl Scouts are all about giving back. We always do whatever they want to do, and they wanted to help, so they brought us to C.H.O.W.,” said Jennifer Sonnen, Girl Scout Troop 30303 Leader.
The Girl Scouts even raised the attention of Gillibrand, who was also looking to give back to children.
“It’s really inspiring,” the Senator said. “I used to be a Girl Scout, and this opportunity for young girls to do community service really makes a difference in their lives and for the community.”
And members of C.H.O.W. wouldn’t have it any other way. They say community support is what keeps them moving forward, year after year.
“It’s absolutely heartwarming,” Leahey said. “When you think about it, you have young people that are here boxing up food for other young people in our community. There is no better story than that. Every day here we get to see the beauty of the young people that are coming up, and their hearts.”
C.H.O.W. will continue to raise enough money to hopefully give all families a happy holiday this season.
Way to go girls! Tell us what your girls are doing to make their communities a better place by e-mailing photos and stories to firstname.lastname@example.org.