Loudonville, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Siena Basketball and CDPHP are teaming up to host the CDPHP “Donate For Hunger” Food Drive benefiting the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, when the Saints host Fairfield Sunday at 2 p.m. at the newly renamed MVP Arena (formally the Times Union Center). Fans who bring at least three non-perishable food items to donate at the game will receive a voucher good for two free tickets to a future Siena Men’s Basketball home game this season.
“After having to cancel last year’s food drive because of COVID-19, this year’s event takes on even greater significance for us,” said Siena College Vice President and Director of Athletics John D’Argenio. “Hunger is a significant issue in our community, and the pandemic has only made it worse. This food drive is always well-received by our fans, thanks to their incredible generosity, and I am confident this year will be no different. We are thrilled to partner with CDPHP on this important initiative and we thank them for their support.”
Fans attending the game are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item, which will be donated to the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York. Ethnically diverse items are preferred for this post-holiday food drive, with culturally appropriate food items including oil, nuts and seeds, dried fruits, dried beans, and various grains. The collection will take place on the arena concourse outside sections 104 and 105.
Fans who donate at least three non-perishable food items will receive a voucher good for two free tickets to a remaining Siena Men’s Basketball home game during the 2021-22 season. Vouchers may be redeemed for game tickets at the MVP Arena Box Office, based on availability.
“We know the pandemic – coupled with a recent rise in inflation – has drastically increased food insecurity in our community,” said CDPHP President and CEO, Dr. John Bennett. “Our neighbors need nutritious food to maintain good physical health, which is why we are proud to partner with Siena College on this important initiative. We are also asking Siena College Basketball fans to donate culturally diverse food, so that those of different backgrounds can enjoy the benefits of our efforts,” added Bennett.
More specific examples of preferred foods include nuts and seeds such as peanuts, almonds, cashews, pine nuts, poppy seeds and sesame seeds; dried fruits including dates, figs, raisins and cherries; grains such as couscous, rice barley, grits and masa; dried beans including lentils, split peas and chickpeas.
Food distribution to families increased by nearly 40% in 2020 and has remained at elevated levels compared to the historical norm. The Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York provided 41 million pounds of food to the community in 2019; that number jumped to 55.8 million pounds in 2020. The Food Bank expects to distribute 51 million pounds this year, which has been compounded by an increase in the cost of groceries due to supply chain shortages.
“Food insecurity is a year-round challenge; it doesn’t stop after the holidays,” said Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York Chief Executive Officer Molly Nicol. “The Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York is grateful to Siena Athletics and CDPHP for hosting this food drive and making sure hunger relief remains visible as we move into the new year.”
The Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that collects donated food from the food industry and distributes it to nearly 1,000 charitable agencies feeding the hungry in 23 counties of northeastern New York. The food provided by the Regional Food Bank helps to feed more than 40,000 people each week. The Regional Food Bank is a member of Feeding America. The organization is supported by foundations, private contributions, and fundraising events.
Tickets to Sunday’s Siena Men’s Basketball game featuring the CDPHP “Donate for Hunger” Food Drive start as low as just $10 for adults (service fees apply if purchasing through Ticketmaster), and can be secured by clicking the corresponding link, in-person at the MVP Arena Box Office, or by contacting Ticketmaster by phone at (800) 745-3000.