The Lord’s Table community feeding ministry in downtown Oneonta is stocked and ready to serve throughout the summer and beyond, thanks to the generosity of many SUNY Oneonta students.
During the last two weeks of the semester, students donated more than $6,700 worth of nonperishable food items, which were collected in bins at Mills Marketplace, the grocery and convenience store on campus. On May 20, the items were delivered to The Lord’s Table, located on Elm Street and operated by St. James Episcopal Church.
Field Marketing Specialist for Sodexo at SUNY Oneonta Joanna Foti said most of the donated food was purchased by students using leftover “Dining Dollars,” which can be carried over from the fall to spring semester but not from spring to the next school year.
“When they have leftover unused Dining Dollars, a lot of students either stock up for themselves and their families or donate it,” Foti said. “ We collect food donations at the end of every semester, but we have never received anything close to what we did this year. We were all in shock and so excited to share the amount! Our students were very generous to our community.”
Last semester, about $2,000 worth of food was donated to St. Mary’s Food Pantry in Oneonta, Foti said. The effort is part of Sodexo’s Stop Hunger initiative, which seeks to help alleviate hunger throughout the community using funds raised during a variety of on-campus events.
The Lord’s Table serves about 80 people a night, or 400 people a week, according to Marcia Hoag, St. James’ director of Feeding Ministries. The accompanying food pantry, Loaves and Fishes, serves 1,500 people a month. SUNY Oneonta’s donation has saved the organization “literally thousands of dollars,” according to Marcia Hoag, St. James’ director of Feeding Ministries.
“It was amazing and overwhelming – there was just so much food,” Hoag said. “We thought they were coming in a pickup truck and they showed up with a commercial truck! We actually gave some of it to other food pantries in the area in Laurens, Edmeston and Richfield Springs. This donation will last us a good six months or more, and we’re just so grateful.”