John Mack Foundation and BAE provided five local organizations with automated external defibrillators

John Mack Foundation and BAE donate AEDs to five local organizations: On Feb. 12, the John Mack Foundation and BAE provided five local organizations with automated external defibrillators (AEDs) that were donated by BAE Systems in Endicott as part of its Community Investment program. The five groups receiving AEDs were the Addiction Center of Broome County, Broome County Council of Churches, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County, The Discovery Center of the Southern Tier and the Vestal police. All of the organizations received CPR/AED training so they were prepared to recognize and handle a cardiac arrest emergency. Michael Taylor, of Union Volunteer Emergency Squad, trained some of the organizations. The John Mack Foundation is named for John Mack, a 17-year-old Binghamton High School student who died in 2006 while playing lacrosse at a facility that did not have an AED.

On Feb. 12, the John Mack Foundation and BAE provided

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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”.