Friendship Donations Network Partners With GreenStar

Thursday, 02 August 2012 14:51

 By Meaghan Sheehan Rosen

fdn.newlogoOn any given day, 364 days a year, dedicated volunteers in and around Ithaca visit numerous local food outlets and producers. They fill their cars with nutritious food and deliver it within hours to food pantries and other sites and programs nourishing local people in need. During August, GreenStar members have a special opportunity to support this effort, which is the work of Friendship Donations Network.

Friendship Donations Network (FDN) supplies food to 29 programs, reaching 2,100 people each week in six counties. Those programs include 14 pantries, 11 outreach sites (including low-wage work sites, mobile home parks, senior housing, and after-school programs), and four free meal programs. Most of these programs rely on donations through FDN for 100 percent of their food — only six of the 29 programs purchase food from regional food banks to supplement what is supplied through FDN donors. Typically, it's the bigger pantries and meal programs that purchase food from the food banks to ensure a supply that meets the needs of their large number of visitors.

The donations that FDN volunteers retrieve daily vary greatly, making it difficult to predict what type and quantity of food will be available from day to day. On average, FDN rescues and distributes 10,000 to 12,000 pounds of food per week, and more on holidays. During the bountiful growing season in the Finger Lakes Region, many farmers generously donate excess produce to FDN programs. Each weekend, at the close of the Ithaca Farmers Market, vendors donate their unsold produce, ensuring that their valuable harvest will end up on somebody's plate, whether at Loaves and Fishes or through a food pantry, rather than in a compost heap.

Read more: Friendship Donations Network Partners With GreenStar


Happy Birthday, GIAC!

Thursday, 31 May 2012 15:47

 By Kristie Snyder,
GreenLeaf Editor

GIAC 1_smFor 40 years GIAC has met the needs of its community — often when no one else would — and it's time to celebrate. The Greater Ithaca Activities Center's annual festival, scheduled for Saturday, June 9 from 11 am to 6 pm, will serve as a giant birthday party, honoring "40 Years of Building Community through Celebration of Cultures."

GIAC was created in 1972 following the loss of the downtown YMCA to fire and the closing of the Northside House community center. To meet the need for recreational programs for City children, the City of Ithaca, the Ithaca City School District (ICSD), the Tompkins County Social Services Department and the United Way came together to found GIAC. It was housed in an unused school building on Albany and Court Streets, which, after a major renovation a couple years ago, remains its home. Today the Center operates as a department of the City, but still maintains strong partnerships with the ICSD and receives United Way funding. A unique structure as a non-profit City department allows the Center to seek grant funding, which supports many of its programs. "We're here for the community, whatever the needs are," explained Deputy Director Leslyn McBean-Clairborne.

Read more: Happy Birthday, GIAC!

Congo Square Market — A Meeting Place in the Marketplace

Tuesday, 01 May 2012 11:47

By Zuri Sabir

Trommelwirbel afrikanische Trommeln 2011

We can make clear what peaceful coexistence means. It means living in peace and friendship with another kind of society — a fully integrated society where the people control their destinies, where poverty and illiteracy have been eliminated, and where new kinds of human beings develop in the framework of a new level of social living.

— Paul Robeson, Paul Robeson Speaks

The Congo Square Market takes place weekly at Ithaca's Southside Community Center. Every Friday evening, its execution is simple and effective: tables for vendors are sequenced in a circle facilitating an equal flow of foot traffic to each business, and an innovative halo of protection from the sun is created by a system of wooden poles suspending white tarps, well supported by cables. Music plays through the evening, rounding out an indelible sense of home.

For three years now, with this year's run beginning Friday, May 4, Congo Square Market has provided the Southside community with fresh offerings — fruits, vegetables, juices, homemade foods from a variety of cultures — as well as cultural enrichment and inclusion in Ithaca's mayoral debates. But fresher still are the goals of spreading liberating ideals within Ithaca's black community and beyond.

Read more: Congo Square Market — A Meeting Place in the Marketplace


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