Annual Dining for Dollars fundraiser raises funds to support area seniors

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – A Local volunteer group is cooking up a fun and delicious way to support seniors in our area.

The Faith In Action Volunteers organization, administered by the Broome County Council of Churches will be hosting its 12th annual Dining for Dollars fundraiser next month.

People can enjoy a meal served by local celebrities and members of clergy.

Proceeds from the event will support community social connections programs, such as Chop and Chat.

This program provides fresh produce and other ingredients for seniors to prepare a meal together while socializing.

Faith In Action Volunteer Program Director Susan Spencer says the organization allows seniors to feel young at heart.

“A lot of seniors who live alone find themselves very isolated. As they get older and they no longer can drive, they can’t get out to do the things that they used to do. So, isolation is a huge factor in the increase of people having to leave their homes, because they don’t take care of themselves,” said Spencer.

Evalie Flynn has been taking part in the Chop and Chat program for a few months.

Before participating, she was told by her doctor that she was prediabetic.

She says the program has helped her change her diet and her overall health.

“I just had my bloodwork done a few weeks ago and my doctor said it was still up there a ways, but I’m no longer prediabetic,” said Flynn.

The fundraising dinner takes place October 12, at the Polish Community Center in Binghamton.

They’ll be serving up Halupki and the event will also include live music and raffles, plus songs from the clergy.

Tickets are $30 and can be purchased by calling 607-724-9130.

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Don’t forget: CHOW Hunger Walk, Sunday, September 17, 2017

Just a reminder: CHOW Hunger Walk September 17, 2017

St. Michael’s community meal a rousing success for Broome County

“When I grew up here everybody owned their own house, everybody knew their neighbors. I couldn’t do anything wrong without anyone telling about me,” said Barb Knighton.

Knighton was raised on Holland Street, right behind St. Michael’s Greek Catholic Church. She’s a third generation member of the parish.

But times, and the First Ward have changed. Noting that the demographics and economic status are different, Knighton came up with an idea. Just over a year ago, she started a community meal at St. Mike’s Recreation center.

“The hunger in the neighborhood is unbelievable,” she said,” No one should go hungry in this country.”

Every Monday night, as many as 200 people gather at 5:45 p.m. for a prayer by the pastor, Fr. Jim Dutko. Then they have a three-course meal.  Each receives tickets to be served soup and salad, an entrée and then desert.

Knighton is backed by a group of volunteers that includes 20 or more people each week, mostly parishioners.  But sometimes, when the school year gets going, students from SUNY Broome or Binghamton University also help out.

The menu is varied, and mostly relies on what is available from CHOW, the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse.   On a recent Monday afternoon, they were preparing a noodle dish for the entrée and deserts were being cut.  Fresh fruit and vegetables plus some leafy greens were in the fridge, ready for distribution to the diners.

About three hours before serving time, parishioner Patricia Gay took a few minutes away from slicing potatoes for soup to talk about the dinner.

“It’s been great for the community,” she said. “It’s a lot of work and love put into the preparation for the food and serving the people. We don’t realize how many people are hungry.”

“I really enjoy it,” said parishioner Pauline Jreczko. “It makes me appreciate what I have. That’s what it’s all about.”

Sometimes, there are too many volunteers.  “If we don’t have a job for you,” Knighton said, “I tell them it’s your job to take a plate, sit down and talk to someone.”

Knighton tries to have something other than food available each week.  Clothing, snacks, health care products and toilet paper have been among the takeaway. There’s also a special table just for kids.

The community dinner is based on a simple formula that’s not too far from her First Ward roots.  She likes to cook.  And she’s not unlike the mothers of times gone by, keeping an eye on those in the neighborhood.  But the neighbors at the dinner come from more than just the area around Clinton Street and Glenwood Avenue. They’re from all over Broome County.

“Jesus fed a lot of people with two fish and five loaves,” Knighton said.

“There’s no reason in this world for people to go hungry,” she added. “I believe that as Christians we should take care of everyone, regardless of who they are, where they come from.”

“If I could do this every day of the week I would.”

CHOW Hunger Walk, Sunday September 17, 2017

The four-day event will include hundreds of radio-controlled aircraft

The Binghamton Aeros will host the 32nd annual Festival of Giants R/C Air Show from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at the Chenango Bridge Airport (247 Airport Road in Chenango Bridge).

The four-day event will include hundreds of radio-controlled aircraft flown by pilots from throughout the East Coast and Canada, with some aircraft are as large as half the size of the real plane. Flying is almost non-stop with everything from giant biplanes to turbine jets. Food and refreshments will be available, and vendors will be on site.

The event is free but benefits the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse, so a cash or non-perishable food item donation requested.

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Broome Bounty program collects unused food and distributes it to local meal sites

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – With well known sports stars heading to our area for a charity round of golf, the beneficiaries are showing off the impact of the proceeds.

CHOW is one of five organizations to earn donations from the Jim “Mudcat” Grant Charity Golf Tournament held next month at the Links at Hiawatha.

CHOW operates Broome Bounty, a program that collects unused food from over 25 locations including warehouses, grocery stores and restaurants including the Olive Garden, Red Lobster and Outback Steakhouse.

The food is distributed to over 35 community meal sites like the Salvation Army on Washington Street in Binghamton.

CHOW Program Manager Jack Seman says the extra funding help feed more people.

“For every dollar that comes in, we can provide about 4 meals to people. So, for every dollar that doesn’t come in, that’s 4 meals that we’re not able to give out. We do the best we can, but without this support and our community partners, we’d have less food out in the community,” said Seman.

Seman says Broome Bounty, which was established 20 years ago, is the county’s largest food recovery program and accounts for over half of the food CHOW distributes.

Last year 2 million pounds of food was given out.

The All-Star Golf Tournament will be held on August 31st and is sponsored by Security Mutual Life Insurance.

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CHOW unveils new ‘Mobile Grocery Store’

VESTAL (WBNG) — The Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse (CHOW) unveiled its new Mobile Grocery Store on Thursday at the United Way of Broome County in Vestal.

Organizers said the Mobile Grocery Store is a way to eliminate the food desert on the Northside of Binghamton and in rural areas around the Southern Tier.

The bus carries non-perishable items along with fresh produce that you would find at a brick and mortar store. All of the items will have little to no cost.

“There’s a stigma revolving around hunger to where if you go to a pantry or a community meal, people look down upon you, so people being able to utilize this bus, they’ll be able to – just like everyone else – just go to a grocery store and shop,” said CHOW Director Jack Seman.

The bus will make its first trip June 30.

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United Methodist Night at the Ballpark

CHOW gets 3.6-ton food donation

VESTAL (WBNG) — The Columbian Financial Group of Vestal collected 3.6 tons of food for the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse (CHOW).

The employees split up into three groups that competed to contribute the most food.

Organizers said each week focused on a specific food type including macaroni and cheese and pasta sauce.

The food will go to CHOW’s summer feeding program, which allows children who rely on school meals to have access to food during the break.

“It’s important to give back to our community, we have a lot of need in the community, and the summertime is especially hard on children in the area so we feel it’s very important that we take a lead in the community in providing for those children,” Columbia Financial Group CEO Michael Fosbury told 12 News.

According to the company, it has donated more than 18 tons of food during the last seven years of participation.

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