September is Hunger Action Month, a time to bring awareness to the food crisis affecting communities across the globe. Vanderbilt, as a firm that adheres to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs,) supports the efforts of organizations that are committed to eliminating world hunger. One of these organizations that we regularly pledge our support to is the Interfaith Nutrition Network (The INN,) a charity whose primary focus is to provide Long Islanders food and nutrition to those in need.
What is SDG 2?
Before we go into what makes The INN a unique and impactful organization, let's discuss SDG 2 and its relation to Hunger Action Month. The United Nation's SDG 2 is their 'Zero Hunger' initiative to end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular, the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round, by 2030.
The issue of global hunger is an immediate one, with estimates showing that 1 in 10 people globally suffer from hunger and 1 in 3 are without regular access to adequate food. These issues are only being exacerbated with the global pandemic and the war in eastern Europe. Covid 19 has hampered supply chains and shipping while Ukraine and Russia constitute 30% of wheat, 20% of maize and 80% of sunflower seed products exports, globally. Indirectly, the sanctions placed on Russia have resulted in increased fossil fuel prices creating an additional strain on supply chains. With these global events, on top of already existing food supply issues, it is getting harder and harder for food and nutrition to remain sustainable.
That is where an organization like The INN comes in. Although not exclusive to this, a mission of theirs is to provide food and nutrition to communities on Long Island that are in need and they do this in a multitude of ways. This is done through the Mary Brennan INN soup kitchen, donating to other local soup kitchens, and their Center for Transformative Change (CTC.)
The Mary Brennan INN soup kitchen, the largest soup kitchen on Long Island, is at the forefront of this mission. Each weekday, volunteers assemble lunch bags of sandwiches, snacks and beverages to give out to all who come to the door. Volunteers, in addition to a team of trained staff members continue to operate the soup kitchen each weekday. There are no questions asked of anyone in need, and everyone is referred to as a guest and treated with dignity and respect. The Mary Brennan INN continues to be a safe space environment, free of judgment, where all requests for help are addressed in a dignified and swift manner.
In addition to the Mary Brennan INN, for more than 30 years The INN has also provided support and assistance to over 25 individual community soup kitchen efforts that have provided over 300,000 meals annually across Long Island. Utilizing The INN’s guidance and support, these individual community soup kitchens have now decided to operate independently of The INN, and some have become their own not-for-profit organizations, thanks to the years of support from their local communities and The INN.
In addition to their direct help and contributions, The INN also provides help through the CTC. The CTC serves as a Resource Center to assist guests of the soup kitchen to improve their life circumstances and/or become self-sufficient. This way the INN is not only helping them in the immediacy but also helping them create a more prosperous and sustainable future for themselves.
How You Can Help!
The INN has many fundraising events throughout the year to raise funds for the organization. if you are looking to help The INN you can do so by familiarizing yourself with the events below.
- Donate Funds - https://the-inn.org/donatefunds/
- Donate Goods - https://the-inn.org/how-to-help/donategoods/
- Make a Charitable Donation - https://the-inn.org/how-to-help/make-a-charitable-gift/
- Invite a Speaker - https://the-inn.org/how-to-help/invite-a-speaker/
- Attend an Event - https://the-inn.org/events/
- Volunteer - https://the-inn.org/volunteer/weeklyvolunteers/
- Become a Corporate Sponsor - https://the-inn.org/how-to-help/corporatepartnerships/
You can be assured that every dollar or good that is donated to The INN will be used productively and efficiently to help end hunger and homelessness on Long Island.
Vanderbilt strives to adhere to every SDG, but with this month being Hunger Action Month, SDG 2 deserves our full attention. With the INN you know that people are getting the best help they can get with the utmost respect they deserve. VFG supports the INN through many of their events, specifically the Luncheon, and we hope you will too. If everyone does even a small part, we end up making a big difference and that's important in ENDING HUNGER.