Group of faculty and staff volunteers

Coby Community Lends Helping Hands

As participants of the hot meal service program “Saturday’s Bread,” in Oneonta, SUNY Cobleskill student-volunteers serve meals twice per semester to community members in need. However, there was something different about 2018’s mid-December meal service, says Matthew Barney, SUNY Cobleskill’s Coordinator of Community Engagement.

Betsy Jensen and Christina Pratt making sandwiches for Saturday's Bread soup kitchen.
SUNY Cobleskill professional staff filled in for students, volunteering at Saturday’s Bread in Oneonta in December 2018.

“The December service was the first one we’ve done with only faculty and staff,” says Barney. A group of 11 members of SUNY Cobleskill’s professional staff filled in for students, preparing, serving, and bussing plates of food for more than 75 Oneonta-area residents. Typically, says Barney, he makes the trip west to help serve hot meals with SUNY Cobleskill student club members.

Participation in Saturday’s Bread is one of a number of service-themed initiatives the SUNY Cobleskill community spearheads. In November and December 2018, SUNY Cobleskill University Police introduced its “Food for Fines” Campaign, allowing individuals to void tickets by contributing pantry items. “Food for Fines” was a major success and, says Barney, is achieving some longevity. He notes SUNY Cobleskill followed up “Food for Fines” with a drive for personal hygiene items, which often run low at food banks and pantries.

Kelly Yaccobuci, Provost Sue Zimmerman, and Debbie Richards volunteering at Saturday's Bread soup kitchen.

Mike Wacksman, Jen Golden, and Marie Gerhardt volunteering at Saturday's Bread soup kitchen.

Milk, coveted by food banks and pantries, is another item that SUNY Cobleskill is helping to bring to those in need. Commissioner of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (and SUNY Cobleskill alumnus) Richard A. Ball challenged President Terenzio to the “10 Gallon Challenge.” The challenge requires those called out to bring 10 gallons of milk to a local food pantry before passing on the challenge to others.

After completing her challenge, President Terenzio helped send the 10 Gallon Challenge sweeping throughout SUNY. Multiple SUNY presidents, as well as SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson, have since fulfilled and passed on the challenge.