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Coffee for a cause

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By Reece Williams

The University at Albany has partnered with Rochester Polytechnic Institute, and Union College in the fight to end hunger in the New York’s Capital Region.

Through their Coffee for a Cause initiative, Sodexo—UAlbany’s food service provider—will donate cents to the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York for every cup of coffee purchased on campus until March 4.
In 2014, the food bank donated 32.3 million pounds of food to 23 counties throughout the state, most of which—3,914,042 pounds—went to Albany.

“We should be able raise enough for at least 4,000 pounds of food,” says Alexa Eaglestone, Sodexo’s Area Marketing Coordinator on the UAlbany campus. “I’m confident that we’ll reach that.”

According to Feeding America, a nation-wide network of food banks, 48.1 million Americans lived in “food insecure households” in 2014, including 32.8 million adults, and 15.3 million children. Such families must choose monthly between paying for food, and paying rent and mortgage bills.

Albany County’s poverty rate sits at around 25% according to the Hunger Action Network of New York State. In 2012, the United States Department of Agriculture published a study by Feed America that found 14.8% of minors to be “food insecure,” or not having the resources to maintain adequate nutrition.

“We help feed 325,000 people a year,” Mark Quandt, Executive Director of the Food Bank, said in an e-mail on Friday. Roughly 40% of those fed by the food bank—about 125,000—are children.

UAlbany is one of the first three campuses to host the program, which Eaglestone and a partner developed “as a local community initiative to engage students, faculty and staff across different campuses in the region and bring awareness to the cause,” according to a press release on Friday.

“It’s something that people buy every day,” says Eaglestone on why the duo decided on cups of coffee to support the the agenda.
“I think it’s awesome”, says UAlbany Baseball head coach Jon Mueller. “To see a kid not have enough food in their belly is a tough thing to handle. Anytime that you’re able to help out one of these organizations [make a difference] is a wonderful thing.”

“It’s definitely a step in the right direction,” says UAlbany freshman Kevin Rupnic as he picks up his own warm brew at Jazzman’s Brew and Bakery in the Campus Center. “If they could donate more, that’d be great, but it’ll add up.”
To learn more about how you can help Sodexo fight hunger in the Capital Region, follow @UASAlbany on Twitter and Instagram, or add UAS_Albany on Snapchat.

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