5th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Anti-Hunger Serve-A-Thon

The Problem

On January 19th-21st, 2008, New Yorkers will celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. birthday by partaking in the New York City Coalition Against Hunger (NYCCAH) 5th Annual Anti-Hunger Serve-A-Thon, an event that provides human energy and funds to help pantries and kitchens meet their immediate needs, as well as build their long-term capacity to help low-income New Yorkers move “beyond the soup kitchen” towards self-sufficiency. The event’s goal is to honor Dr. King’s legacy by encouraging New Yorkers to make his birthday “a day on, not a day off.” As Dr. King worked against poverty and apathy, New Yorkers are invited to do the same. MLK is similar to a walk-a-thon but instead of walking you’re performing a service to help pantries and kitchens meet their immediate needs. We are also building long-term capacity to help low-income New Yorkers move “beyond the soup kitchen” towards self-sufficiency, which is why we encourage you to ask your friends, family and co-workers for donations in honor of the service you will do. We will be placing servers at selected food pantries and/or soup kitchens on Saturday, Jan. 19, Sunday, Jan. 20, and/or Monday, Jan. 21. The time commitment is flexible and is meant to fit within a busy schedule. Service opportunities will be available in all five boroughs. Participants will conduct a wide variety of functions, including: preparing and serving hot meals at soup kitchens; unloading, sorting, inventorying, packaging, and distributing groceries at food pantries; cleaning, painting facilities, and constructing new storage and service spaces; and conducting Food Stamp and School Breakfast outreach by distributing materials to clients. Volunteers with a professional background will also learn about how they can use their skills on a long-term basis to help agencies feed more people and move clients toward self-sufficiency. Skills currently in high demand are marketing, accounting and financial management, technology and computer skills, and fundraising. Hunger in New York City is a serious and increasing problem, and feeding programs are in dire need of volunteers. The Coalition Against Hunger’s 2005 survey showed 81 percent of programs have no full-time paid staff, 60 percent have no paid staff at all, and only about 5 percent have three or more employees. To register contact Andrea Dispenza 212-825-0028 ext 202, adispenza@nyccah.org. The Coalition Against Hunger is an umbrella group for the more than 1,200 charitable kitchens and pantries citywide—and the more than one million low-income New Yorkers forced to use them to feed their families. More information about the Coalition Against Hunger and hunger in New York City is available at http://www.nyccah.org

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