SEFCU donates $20k to CHOW

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – A local credit union is giving money to a local organization to keep food on the table for hungry people in our area.

Representatives from SEFCU presented a $20,000 check to CHOW this afternoon at the warehouse located at 3 Otseningo Street in Binghamton.

The money will be used to purchase food, provide job training and education.

SEFCU has been donating to CHOW for over 10 years.

CHOW Director Jack Seman says large scale donations go a long way.

“They’re absolutely incredible.  Partners like SEFCU allow us to do what we do each year.  They are a partner we can count on to allow us to make a huge difference in more ways than one,” said Seman.

CHOW is able to provide up to seven meals for only a dollar through bulk and wholesale purchasing.

The organization distributes 130,000 pounds of food per month.

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Local man says God hears, answers us

“My lungs were full of blood clots,” Al Babicek recalled.

Eight years ago, he had a serious medical condition. Many people were praying for him. That included his pastor, his church, and those he prayed with in ministry.

“The pulmonary doctor came in and said there’s no reason for me to be alive,” he said.

Babicek attributes his healing to a divine answer.

“I believe in prayer. I do believe in my whole heart that God hears us. God answers us. Maybe not the way we want. But he answers us and we can be assured of that.”

Babicek has been sharing prayer two days a week as a lay volunteer with the Broome County Council of Churches Hospital Chaplaincy program since 2009.

Babicek remembered receiving some good advice on visiting patients on his first day at Wilson Hospital from then-chaplain Betty Pomeroy: Quality over quantity.

“She was telling me that if someone wants to talk, if they need to have someone with them, if that’s the only person I visit with that day … that’s what I need to do because that’s what God would have me to do.”

“I believe that when you pray with people, God doesn’t necessarily say he’s going to heal everybody. But he does give us peace in the situation we’re in.

If I can in a little way kind of make someone’s worry a little better, I like doing that,” he said.

Raised Catholic at St. Cyril’s in Binghamton’s First Ward, Babicek attended the parish school. A member of New Life Church for many years now, prayer is part of his life there at least 3 times a week.

Babicek also prays with inmates as part of the chaplaincy program at a state penitentiary in Waymart, Pennsylvania.  And he’s assisted with a similar program at the Broome County Jail. If he sees a county jail inmate at Wilson, he asks the guard if it’s OK to pray with the prisoner.

During his hospital visits, Babicek stops in rooms to see Protestants, Catholics — anyone who needs an ear. He said he lets the Spirit lead him and tries to make a connection with the patient or sometimes their families.

“The other day I was praying with some folks and the lady stood up and put her arms around me and started praying for me,” he said. “It’s a blessing. You meet a lot of good people.”

“People have interesting lives,” Babicek added.” Especially the older folks … they like to talk.”

“Having grown up as a Catholic, Al has many insights into people he visits,” said Chaplain Rev. John Koopman, Coordinator of Hospital Chaplaincy for the Council of Churches.

“He brings a perspective that’s helpful to patients and families,” Koopman added. “People respond to him very well.”

Koopman calls Babicek a “very devoted, spiritual man,” who recruits other volunteers and assists wherever needed.

“Patients and families are blessed because of Al and all the other volunteers,” Koopman said.

“I just love doing it. This is a blessing.” Babicek said. “I just enjoy praying with them and just sharing my faith.”

For more information on the hospital chaplaincy program, call Chaplain Rev. John Koopman, Wilson Chaplain Office, 763-6003.

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Assemblywoman Lupardo secures $10k grant for CHOW

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo is helping to put food on the table for needy families in our area.

Lupardo secured a $10,000 grant for the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse, better known as CHOW.

The money was used to provide 80,000 pounds of food used to make over 66,000 meals for people struggling with food insecurity.

Through wholesale pricing, CHOW is able to provide about seven meals with just a single dollar.

Lupardo says CHOW helps make memorable holiday meals for those struggling to make ends meet.

“When people want to make their holiday experiences special for their families, and when they’re experiencing food insecurity, this is a place for us to step up and provide that moment for them.  But honestly, it’s a year-long endeavor,” said Lupardo.

Lupardo is challenging the community to donate to CHOW during not just the holiday season, but throughout the new year.

Area Weis Markets have CHOW barrels that people can put food in while they’re at the store.

Food and monetary donations can be made Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m at the CHOW warehouse located at 3 Otseningo Street in Binghamton.

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Weis, Hormel donate 10,000 pounds of ham to CHOW

On a chilly day in Binghamton, a group of representatives from Weis Markets and Hormel Foods gathered in the parking lot at the Robinson Street grocery store to load more than 2,000 hams into a truck and help fight hunger this holiday season.

Part of Weis Markets’ annual Fight Hunger program, supporting local food banks and pantries, volunteers from the grocery and food brand donated 2,600 Hormel Cure 81 hams to Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse.

 “Working with local organizations to help fight hunger is an incredibly important cause for Weis Markets,” said Ron Bonacci, vice president, advertising and marketing for Weis Markets. “Our stores work year-round to support CHOW in its mission to serve those in need throughout the Southern Tier, so we are pleased to partner with Hormel Foods as we continue to do our part to eliminate food insecurity.”

According to the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, an organization partnered with CHOW, 27,150 people in Broome County were food insecure in 2016. CHOW distributed 3.7 million pounds of food to families in need during that time.

 On Thursday, Weis Markets and Hormel Foods donated 10,000 pounds of ham to CHOW, which will help the organization provide 20,000 meals to those residents who might not be able to provide their families with holiday meals this year, through its network of 30 food pantries, 35 soup kitchens and community meal programs.

“Broome County is home to nearly 30,000 individuals who do not know where their next meal is coming from,” said Jack Seman, CHOW director, in a statement. “This time of year often becomes an added stress for these community members.”

 Associates and representatives of Weis Markets, Hormel Foods and CHOW filled grocery carts and lined up outside the Robinson Street store Thursday morning, creating an assembly line to quickly pack ham after ham into a large refrigerated truck, headed for CHOW.
“The Weis Markets Fight Hunger program is an incredible way to give back to the community, and we hope that this inspires people to be more generous during the season of giving,” said Bryan Holzhauer, Hormel Foods territory manager.

Follow Katie Sullivan on Twitter @ByKatieSullivan.

Jail Ministry Christmas Projects

“The annual Christmas Project for the Broome County Council of Churches Jail Ministry desperately needs your help this week. We have gift bags with books and stuffed animals for children of inmates ready for local delivery, with most of them for Binghamton. If you would like to participate in this heartwarming ministry, you can pick them up at the Council of Churches at 3 Otseningo St. Binghamton, NY 13903 (607)-724-9130 on M-F 8:30-4:40. The bags are sorted by zip codes and instructions are attached to the bags, All we ask is that you drop them off at the front doors, no need to knock or visit.  Just remove and discard the instruction sheets when you leave the bag”.

Our other project for the Broome County Jail inmates:

“Every Christmas the Broome County Council of Churches Jail Ministry Program gives small gift bags to the inmates containing simple items we take for granted on the outside.  We will be assembling these hand decorated bags at our Annual Christmas Wrapping party at 6:00 PM this Thursday 12/21 at the Sheriff’s Office. We have a very nice time with fellowship and pizza. If you would like to attend please call Chaplain Cris Mogenson at 607-778-6518.  We are also in need of playing cards, small puzzle books, and tissue packets”.

NG Advantage partners with NH, VT, NY community organizations

Vermont Business Magazine Colchester-based NG Advantage LLC, which is majority-owned by Clean Energy Fuels (NASDAQ:CLNE), continued its longstanding tradition of supporting charitable organizations by delivering nonperishable food items and gifts to local community groups. This week NG Advantage delivered multiple donations of locally-sourced, nonperishable food items to the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse in Binghamton, Ticonderoga Food Pantry, and the Community Action Program serving Belknap-Merrimack Counties in New Hampshire. Next week NG Advantage will also provide gifts to 19 families they “adopted” through the Milton Family Community Center.

“NG Advantage is proud to partner with these organizations that help so many individuals and families throughout the year,” said NG Advantage CEO Rico Biasetti. “Our company—and employees—are committed to investing in and supporting the communities where we operate. We hope other businesses reach out to these and other groups that do so much, especially during the holiday season, for our neighbors in need.”

Through its network of food pantries, soup kitchens, and community meal programs in Broome County, the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse (CHOW) distributes over 160,000 pounds of food each month, and about 2 million pounds of food annually to local communities.

“We thank NG Advantage for helping us provide essential meals and services to those who depend on us most,” said Cindy Jenkins-Gerhart, Donors Relations Manager of CHOW. “Our group and those we serve rely on business partnerships particularly during the holidays to ensure we can meet the needs of our community.”

“NG Advantage’s continued support of our efforts is much appreciated and goes far as we push to meet the demands of our neighbors in need,” said Margaret Beurelein, Director of the Ticonderoga Food Pantry, an organization that serves the Ticonderoga and Putnam communities.

The Community Action Program in Belknap-Merrimack Counties covers both counties with Area Centers in the towns of Concord, Franklin, Meredith, Suncook, and Warner. The program’s mission works to empower the most vulnerable individuals and families in their area, as well as focuses on organizing food donations and providing financial and social support services in these communities.

“NG Advantage has been a consistent partner in our community outreach initiatives,” said Jill Engel, Director of Suncook Area Center. “We are thankful for their donations which will quickly help real people.”

The Milton Family Community Center organizes food donations for its emergency food shelf, facilitates full-day/full-year preschool programs for toddlers and infants, and offers after-school childcare. The Community Center serves about 150 families each month, and relies on volunteers, residents, and local businesses for support.

“Our services and programs provide stability and empower our local residents,” said Vikki Patterson, Executive Director of Milton Family Community Center. “NG Advantage’s charitable contribution directly benefits this center’s mission to strengthen the local community, and sends a positive holiday message.”

Photos will be available after each delivery:

Wednesday, December 13 – Binghamton, New York (Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse)

Thursday, December 14 – Pembroke, New Hampshire (Community Action Program)

Friday, December 15 – Ticonderoga, New York (Ticonderoga Food Pantry)

Monday, December 18 – Milton, Vermont (Milton Family Community Center)

About NG Advantage LLC

NG Advantage provides the economic and environmental benefits of clean-burning natural gas to boiler and kiln operators located beyond the reach of pipelines via one of the largest virtual pipeline trailer fleets in the US. The company pioneered trucking compressed natural gas to end users in the US and is the leading provider of this “virtual pipeline” service in the country. The company’s current customers include large regional hospitals, paper mills, asphalt plants, food processors, industrial dry cleaners, manufacturing facilities, and local distribution companies. The company, which is majority owned by Clean Energy Fuels (NASDAQ:CLNE), is expanding nationwide from its base in the Northeast.

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Broome County Sheriff’s Office collecting food, toys through Dec. 23

DICKINSON (WBNG) — The Broome County Sheriff’s Office collects donations every year for the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse (CHOW) and Toys for Tots in the month of December.

The nonprofit organizations help people in need but they need the public’s help to make it happen.

“A number of people have come in,” said Broome County Sheriff David Harder. “We’ve already taken one whole car load out the other day. Deputy Stapleton took them out. Yeah so it’s coming in very well.”

On Tuesday that car load was filled up thanks to a secret Santa.

One man brought in bags of gifts. But he isn’t the only one ringing in the holiday season.

A woman who works within the Sheriff’s Office has been donating toys for more than a decade.

“It feels good,” said Broome County Sheriff’s Office Records Clerk Mary Jane Prospero. “I like to be a giver. Of course it’s always, you know, better to give than to receive. It’s always more fun.”

Prospero says she wants to bring joy and happiness to families this year.

“I can’t imagine growing up without having toys and not having a good Christmas,” said Prospero. “So it’s great to have and great to be able to donate to them so that they can have toys.”

The sheriff’s office has two bins in its main lobby for people to drop off donations.

The office is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The last day to drop something off is December 23.

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Don’t Forget: Help Spread Holiday Cheer to Local Seniors

We have some exciting news for the holiday season this year.  Every December, I Heart Radio holds their “Gifts for Goldens” event in the Oakdale Mall.  This event allows mall shoppers to take a tag from a tree and purchase a Christmas gift for a local senior citizen.  This year, they are partnering with Fox 40 and Faith in Action!  We will have 75 tags with names of our clients on the tree.  What a great opportunity to reach out to our care receivers who are isolated and have no family in the area and remember them during the holidays!  Our office staff and volunteers are busy making calls and gathering gift requests.

Gifts for Goldens started with 80 names in 2012 and has grown to over 200.  Join us at the Oakdale Mall, pick a tag off the tree and spread some holiday cheer to the seniors in our community.

We hope to see you there!

Gifts For Goldens – Oakdale Mall

Fri. Dec. 8th –  5pm – 9pm

Sat. Dec. 9th – 9am – 9pm

Sun. Dec. 10th – 9 am – 6 pm

Just a Reminder of Amazon’s Season Of Smiles!

This holiday season, Amazon will be sharing inspirational charity stories with our millions of Facebook followers. Starting Nov. 20, Amazon would like to invite you to participate in our new #SeasonOfSmiles social media campaign by posting stories about the work your organization is doing and how AmazonSmile donations are helping to further your mission. Amazon will review these charity posts and from Nov. 28 through Dec 31, Amazon will share one charity story per day on Amazon’s Facebook page.

These stories should focus on the great work that your organization is doing. They are the authentic, heartfelt, and mission-focused stories you would typically share with your supporters. Simply integrate how AmazonSmile donations are helping your cause, include the campaign hashtag, #SeasonOfSmiles, and remind supporters that they can help support your organization by shopping at

You can post as many stories as you want on whichever social media channels you prefer. We will select stories using the following criteria.

  1. Stories are positive and emotionally compelling
  2. Stories mention how AmazonSmile donations are helping your organization
  3. Posts are visually compelling with photos or video
  4. Posts include the campaign hashtag #SeasonOfSmiles
  5. Posts include your unique AmazonSmile link:

We are excited to share these stories and make our customers and charities smile this holiday season. Thank you for your participation in the AmazonSmile program.

The Sultan and the Saint

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