Hunger Action Month approaching

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC-TV) - September is Hunger Action Month for Foodlink.

Communications Director Mark Dwyer and Director of Development and Community Engagement Heather Newton discussed the initiative Wednesday during News 8 at Noon.

"It's the national campaign that's organized by Feeding America, that's the national network of food banks around the country," said Dwyer of Hunger Action Month. "We really help raise awareness to hunger throughout the country, and particularly here right in Rochester where there's about 156,000 people that are considered food insecure in this region."

There's a way for just about everyone to get involved. "We have a calendar that we like to call 30 Ways in 30 Days that we post up on our website," Dwyer explained. "It goes out in our fall newsletter as well, and it's got all sorts of different ways that you can get involved by donating, by volunteering, by being an advocate through social media.

Holding a plate-shaped dry erase board, Dwyer said, "One of our biggest social media campaigns for this Hunger Action Month is people can fill out this dry erase board, or print out a plate and fill in the blank. It says, on an empty stomach I can't (blank). And one of the themes of Hunger Action Month is illustrating how you can't really be at your full potential when you're hungry. So, you're filling in the blank here and then you're flipping it around and saying, but I can (blank) to help end hunger, and that can be donate, volunteer, advocate, anything that you choose."

One of the highlights of Hunger Action Month for Foodlink is the Festival of Food, set for September 18 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Rochester Public Market. "So every year, this is our fourteenth year of Festival of Food, we have over 1,000 people who come out," said Newton. "For folks who don't know about it, it's a tasting event, all the wine and beer and food you can eat from all sorts of vendors from around the region. We're very grateful to have Wegmans as a part of it again this year. They have been our title sponsor for a long, long time, and all of their restaurants will be represented, including their cheese caves this year, which we're all really excited about."

New this year Foodlink is offering a Festival of Food VIP experience. "So, you can hop online and you can purchase tickets in advance," Newton said. "They're $75, our regular tickets are $50, and the VIP get you advanced access, so you can come in early, we also have a drink opportunity over at Cure, a special space for you to sit, so it should be a really wonderful night."

Orange is the color associated with Hunger Action Month. Both Newton and Dwyer wore orange clothing for the conversation. Addressing food insecurity is a year round need. "It brings in a lot of dollars to help out all of our programs," said Dwyer. "A lot of people, when they think about fall and winter and the holiday season, that's when they really take action but we really like to make the point that it is a year round issue."

For more information about how you can get involved in Hunger Action Month and to get your tickets for Foodlink's Festival of Food, click here.



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