SVHC secures $75k for Cortland County food programs

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Seven Valleys Health Coalition and several food programs in Cortland County have been awarded a $75k grant through the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation’s Coronavirus Emergency Support Program.

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The six month grant will run from July 1 – December 31 and be used to support and expand the county’s food programs

Funding was applied for after the idea first came up at Cortland Food Project’s Hunger Coalition Subcommittee meeting in early April, according to SVHC officials.

“We had just completed a food rescue of over 700 pounds of donated fresh produce,” said Susan Williams, Assistant Director for SVHC, who led the food pantry breakout session. “Our AmeriCorps member followed up with a survey to all county food programs looking to establish a baseline assessment of infrastructure capacity and needs. What we heard were several programs expressing frustration over lack of storage, lack of funding, and other issues created by COVID, and we wanted to find a concrete way to help.”

Williams says the funding will help to continue and grow food systems at the agency like the CFP food policy council, the Hunger Coalition and the food rescue program.

“All of our food systems work accelerated significantly with the pandemic and this funding from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation will help us be able to continue to meet the needs that have been identified,” added Williams.

Funding will also help support the 2-1-1 Cortland Information and Referral Service.

That’s another program offered by SVHC which includes and regularly updated list of food pantries and other food resources in the county on the program’s website:

Nearly $30k of the award will fund equipment at services at six other food programs across the county for a variety of needs self-identified by each:

  • Cortland-Chenango Rural Services
  • Cortland Loaves and Fishes
  • Homer Food Pantry
  • Marathon Food Pantry
  • Salvation Army of Cortland
  • Virgil United Methodist Church Food Pantry

“We’re grateful for the grant and the ability to increase our cold food storage with the funding,” said Homer Food Pantry Volunteer Carol Costell Corbin. “It will help us take advantage of county food rescue programs and distribute fresh produce, which we have not been able to do.”

Cortland Chenango Rural Services Executive Director Joanne Garringer-Brown said the funds will allow the Cincinnatus-based program to offer specific they might not be able to otherwise:

“We are so grateful to have these funds available to enhance the food programs at Rural Services,” Brown said. “We will now be able to offer baby formula and hygiene products in addition to purchasing food for the pantry and our weekend ‘No Child Hungry’ program. A new industrial cooler will enable us to safely store more produce, meat and dairy items to further meet the needs of the eleven towns we serve.”

The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization with the mission to improve the health and well-being of the vulnerable New Yorkers, bolster the health outcomes of targeted communities, eliminate barriers to care, and bridge gaps in health services.

“New York’s poorest and most vulnerable communities are facing unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19. Honoring the legacy of Mother Cabrini, we intend these grants to have a significant impact in ameliorating food insecurity, helping providers as they deliver care and services in this challenging environment, offering mental health services, and sustaining other essential resources. We plan to continue to monitor the crisis, and we will continue to adjust our response as needs arise,” said Msgr. Gregory Mustaciuolo, CEO of the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation.

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