Food insecurity isn't just hitting those who were already struggling before and during the pandemic. Families and individuals who were once moderately comfortable have suddenly found themselves faced with very little choice of where to go to get food.

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Families that were just getting back on their feet after the pandemic had their feet kicked out from under them thanks to ever-rising inflation and, local food pantries are working hard to supply their needs.

According to Les Aylesworth, Director of Broome County CHOW, pre-inflation, the number of food insecure in Broome County was around 29,000 people. Factor in those impacted by inflation and those numbers have soared - astronomically.

Food pantries all across America are seeing an influx of people who are asking for help. Aylesworth says that a partner agency of CHOW reported serving seven times the number of people this year that it did during the same time last year and the need for food is not decreasing, it is increasing.

In Broome County, there are roughly 79,528 households. If each household donated just two non-perishable food items that would translate to 159,056 items and would help substantially. Now, imagine what five items per family could do.

Aylesworth told Townsquare Media, “Hunger is always an issue in our community, but things have been especially stressful for those who are food insecure, as the cost of food has risen and supplies are down."

If you would like to lend a hand, the 2023 Food-a-Bago Food Drive to benefit the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse would be a great way to do it.

2023 Food-a-Bago Food Drive Collection Location

From October 30 to November 6, your favorite on-air personalities from 98.1 The Hawk, 99.1 The Whale, Kiss 104.1, and News Radio 1290 WNBF will be stationed at the camper in the parking lot of Weis Market on Upper Front Street in Binghamton, ready to collect your non-perishable food items and monetary donations.

2023 Food-a-Bago Food Drive Collection Hours

The Food-a-Bago Food Drive operates on the following schedule: Monday to Friday, October 30, 2023, to November 3, 2023, from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, November 4 and 5 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; and Monday, November 6 from, 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.

How Far CHOW Can Stretch Your Dollar Donation

Our radio personalities will graciously accept your non-perishable food items, as well as cash and check donations (please make checks payable to our partner non-profit, Music for the Mission).  You'll be amazed to know that for every dollar you donate, CHOW can provide someone with five complete meals. For example, a $5 donation can be transformed into 25 complete meals, and $25 would mean 125 complete meals. CHOW has a remarkable ability to stretch a dollar.

Participate In The 2023 Food-a-Bago Shopping Cart Challenge

Business owners, churches, schools, law enforcement agencies, government officials, sports teams, and even individuals are invited to participate in a little friendly competition. With the 'shopping cart challenge' groups or individuals either fill a shopping cart with food or donate the cash equivalent to a full shopping cart and then they call out another business, organization, or individual to match or exceed their donation. Participants are encouraged to have fun with their challenge, making signs and sharing the challenge on social media.

Other Ways to Donate

If you're unable to make it to the Food-a-Bago food drive, you can still help by donating non-perishable food items at 21st Century Pools and Spas on the Vestal Parkway or at Gary's U-Pull It on Colesville Road in Binghamton. You can also make a secure donation through our charity partner, Music for the Mission, through this PayPal link.

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