A local organization collects about 700,000 pounds of perishable food every year and redistributes it to food pantries, kids' programs, senior citizens facilities, and more in Tompkins County. The Friendship Donation Network (FDN) provides 2,200 people in need with fresh food, as opposed to the canned goods usually provided to the poor.
Where does all that food come from? It's not exactly donated in the way that canned goods are often donated for food drives. It's rescued in big quantities from local food outlets, farms, and colleges and universities (mostly when closed for vacations). Without a mechanism to collect and distribute it, that fresh food would most likely be dumped because its shelf-life is so short.
The benefit to people is concrete, according to Director Patricia Dutt and founder Sara Pines, who recount stories of families subsisting on cat food and seniors choosing between food and medicine.
Until this year, Friendship Donations Network (FDN) has operated as a one-woman private philanthropy. But this year, the organization is fundraising for the first time so that it can pay a part time director, reimburse volunteers for gasoline expenses, build a walk-in cooler, and continue to distribute food valued at $2 million per year.
The following video is from FDN: