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Public library storytime series aims to raise awareness of hunger

A new partnership aims to promote literacy and awareness of hunger among younger Central New Yorkers. Onondaga County Public Libraries and the Food Bank of Central New York held the first of four Hunger Action Storytime events on Friday.

More than a dozen sixth graders from Blessed Sacrament School gathered at the Paine Branch Library in Eastwood to hear the book entitled “Maddi’s Fridge”, written by Lois Brandt.

Karen Belcher, executive director of the Food Bank of CNY said the storytime events are a great way to teach children philanthropy and empathy.

“We need to start building that (hunger) awareness with some of the younger generations. So, letting youth know that hunger does exist and they're the ones that need help. Maybe they know a friend that needs help, and it's ok to ask for help. There are resources in the community,” said Belcher.

Children at the event enjoyed “Maddi’s Fridge” and learned more about the message it promoted.

Jackson Hunt, one sixth grader at the event, said he didn’t know of anyone facing hunger, but he realized that some people in the community are struggling to afford food.

“The message (of the book) was that some people don't have a lot of food in the fridge, so we give food to them so they can eat,” said Hunt. “It feels sad, but luckily our school can like give back to them (persons struggling to afford food) so they can eat for the day,” he added.

Belcher said it was heartwarming to see the generosity and engagement from students at the kick-off event. She said that they brought cans and boxes of food with them to the event, in hopes of helping someone in their community.

In New York state, about one in 10 New York households (10.5%) experience food insecurity, particularly households with children, according to Hunger Solutions New York.

The food bank has over 400 partners across several counties to serve families in need.

To donate to the Food Bank of CNY and learn more about their mission, visit

Future Hunger Action Storytime events will be held at Beauchamp, Northeast community center and Soule branch libraries.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at