Video Highlights FDN’s Local Mission — Rescuing Food, Reducing Hunger

MEDIA RELEASE: March 23, 2015

ITHACA, N.Y. — Hunger is not new to our community. But fortunately neither is Friendship Donations Network.

Now a new video, “The Story of Friendship Donations Network,” describes the nearly all-volunteer organization, which rescues thousands of pounds of fresh, healthy food daily that’s about to be thrown away at area supermarkets and stores farms and CSAs, and redistributes it to 2,000 people every week in our communities who need extra help putting food on the table.

The video, which was made by Mark Hartsuyker at Recording Raccoon Studios in Ithaca, N.Y., and a cast of volunteers, can be seen on FDN’s website: <>.

“There are many different reasons why people would come to a food pantry,” said one volunteer at Halsey Valley Helping Hands food pantry in the video. She mentioned a recent client, an 85-year-old woman whose health insurance costs had gone up at the same time that her household had expanded to include a grandson and great grandson. “They have all come together to be able to survive in this present economy,” said the volunteer.

Another volunteer, at the Tuesday food pantry at Immaculate Conception Church in downtown Ithaca, talked about how she had seen the number of food recipients balloon from about 25 in 1998 to more than 500 weekly today. She praised FDN for providing them with enough fresh food to cover as many as nine meals a week.

The video comes with an original song, composed and performed especially for FDN by local musician David Graybeard. It features such verses as:

“If you need a helping hand now and then, 

please don’t be a stranger, there’s plenty, come on in. 

Spend some time with neighbors, maybe some that you don’t know. 

There’s someone ’round to help you when you need it most.”

Friendship Donations Network was founded in 1988 by Sara Pines because, as she told another volunteer: “Nobody should go hungry in our community.” Pines singlehandedly led the network until 2010 when a volunteer board and part-time coordinator stepped in to share the responsibilities while retaining an exceptionally lean budget.

Pines and others at FDN hope that the video will attract more volunteers, food and dollar donations to continue to support its operations, which serve not only such clients in Ithaca, N.Y., as Loaves and Fishes, the Rescue Mission and Immaculate Conception food pantry but also such places with food pantries and Neighborhood Food Hubs as Danby, Groton, Newfield, Halsey Valley, and others in Tompkins County and nearby communities. The video also lists all food donor organizations, among them anchor donor Wegmans, Ithaca Bakery, GreenStar Cooperative Market and West Haven Farm.