July 22, 2009

NYSUT locals fill food pantry shelves

Source: NYSUT Newswire
Caption: LAP locals from across the state donated hundreds of pounds of food to the Franklin Community Center's food bank located in Saratoga Springs. On behalf of the locals, NYSUT Vice President Kathleen Donahue (far left) and Secretary-Treasurer Lee Cutler (far right) present the center's Executive Director Kari Cushing (speaking) and Program Coordinator Jaime Williams with the much-needed supplies.

The executive director of the Franklin Community Center was heartened to hear that NYSUT locals from across the state would donate to their food bank this week.

"Summer months are particularly tough because it's historically a low time of the year for donations," said Kari Cushing, who directs the Saratoga County based program.

The donations are especially welcome, since need peaks in the summer, Cushing reported to the 150 participants at the statewide union's Local Action Project this week.

"Thank you so much," Cushing said. "I have to say I was very happily surprised to see how much you collected, and you have to know how much this is needed because with the economy the way it is we've been getting 25 new families a month." She also noted that for many of the children they serve, school lunch is the most nutritious meal of their day. They serve many more children when school is not in session.

Vice President Kathleen Donahue noted that the local unions from Alexandria, Baldwinsville, Buffalo, Broadalbin-Perth, Carthage, Geneva, Homer, Jamestown, Newburgh, Nyack, Ogdensburg, Ossining, Peru, Pine Bush, Rochester, Schoharie, St. Johnsville, Stony Brook Health Science Center, Troy, Voorheesville and Waterville all support the needy in their own communities. In addition, they responded to NYSUT's call to help the Saratoga community, which is hosting the LAP conference this year. LAP annually brings together teams from NYSUT local unions across the state to exchange ideas on political action, community outreach and union activism.

NYSUT unions have been responding to escalating community needs in the midst of tough economic times, and delegates to NYSUT's Representative Assembly approved a Special Order of Business this spring to raise awareness of the critical importance of food banks and to encourage locals to participate.