Each August for the last three years, I have looked forward to “Cornival,” a chefs’ challenge and charity fundraiser co-hosted by CDPHP® and SEFCU. Not only have I been impressed with the delicious and inventive corn-themed dishes created by some very talented local chefs, but I also appreciate the fact that the event is designed to shine a light on the potentially devastating impact of food insecurity on the health and well-being of our community.
This year’s Cornival, which is open to the public, is shaping up to be a foodie’s delight. All proceeds from the event, which will be held on Wednesday, August 8, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., will benefit Troy’s Hope 7 Food Pantry.
If your schedule allows, come on over to the parking lot adjacent to the SEFCU branch at 655 Patroon Creek Boulevard in Albany on August 8; just look for the tent and pavilion! Admission to the lunchtime tasting event is only $10 (which goes straight to Hope 7), and you’ll have an opportunity to sample many delectable dishes and vote for your favorite.
Everyone who votes will also receive a ticket to enter a drawing for a variety of prizes. There will also be a chance to participate in a 50/50 “no give-back” raffle, and you can increase your chances of winning and raise more funds for Hope 7 by purchasing additional tickets to the prize drawing. B95.5 will be on hand to provide music for the event.
The following establishments will be competing and we will update the list as new participants sign on. Keep an eye on the Cornival Facebook event page for the most current information.
Established in 1987, the Hope 7 Food Pantry serves residents of Troy’s East Side and the village of Wynantskill in the town of North Greenbush. Initially housed in a closet at the Hope 7 Community Center, the pantry currently operates out of the Pawling Avenue United Methodist Church, where families and individuals can come for basic food staples, meat, breads and bakery items, fresh produce, and milk. It also stocks a number of non-food items, such as diapers, toiletries, personal hygiene items, and household cleaning supplies, as well as pet food.
On average, the Hope 7 Food Pantry serves 483 individuals a month, 52 percent of whom are seniors and children. Monthly, the pantry provides an emergency three-meals-a-day food supply for three days, along with toiletries. Families can return weekly to replenish their supplies of bread and fresh produce.
This year, Cornival organizers hope to surpass their previous fundraising record of $10,500 for the charity, and employees from both CDPHP and SEFCU will be hosting a monthlong nonperishable-food drive prior to the event. Food donations will also be accepted at the event.
When asked how the food and funds raised at Cornival would make a difference for Hope 7 Community Center, board president Brad Lewis said, “CDPHP and SEFCU have been longtime supporters of our mission and work in the community. It means so much to be selected as the beneficiary of this fun event! Not only does it give weight to the work we do, but it also allows us to share our successes and struggles with new people, and the potential for new supporters and volunteers is endless!”
With the funds raised at Cornival, the staff at the food pantry plans to purchase a new reach-in refrigerator to keep produce fresher longer, and to increase the amount of produce, dairy, and eggs that are available to pantry clients. In addition, they plan to acquire a new prep table they can use to pack orders, as well as 10 new shelves to allow them to stock more of the pantry staples families depend on, such as peanut butter, cereal, tuna, canned chicken, meat, bread, and fruits and vegetables.
Hunger and food insecurity are real and present problems in the Capital Region. In our community, there are children who routinely go to school without breakfast, adults who skip meals to pay for housing and utilities, and seniors on fixed incomes who struggle to afford food and medications. Across the state, according to Hunger Solutions New York, more than 3 million New Yorkers rely on nutrition assistance programs all year long to feed themselves and their families. Of these, nearly 1 million are children.
It’s up to us to do what we can to raise awareness of the issue and work to alleviate the problem. That is why CDPHP and SEFCU have enlisted the culinary expertise of local restaurants and chefs to support the Hope 7 Food Pantry. Join us at Cornival 2018. Your taste buds will thank you, and you’ll be making a positive difference in your community!