Thank you to the staff and students at BOCE for supporting the Skills USA food drive. The group donated over two tons of canned and boxed items to the Feed Our Vets organizations. Class winners with the largest donations include Mr. Hoffmeister’s Culinary Arts II class with 236 donations and Ms. Gambacorta’s Early Childhood Education I class with 245 donations. A special mention goes out to Ms. Poniketera’s class with 137 donations and Ms. Keefer’s class with 111 donations. Thank you Ms. Bonsted’s Multi-Occupations students for helping with the sorting and boxing of the goods. The donations will make the holidays better for many Utica area vets and their families.
Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES is part of a state-wide system of Board of Cooperative Educational Services and was one of the first four established by the New York State Legislature in 1948 under section 1950 of the NYS Education Law. There are currently 37 BOCES in New York state. BOCES functions as a link between local schools and the State Education Department. Through cooperative efforts of component school districts, BOCES offers a wide variety of educational and support services to public education agencies throughout the state.
BOCES serves its component districts by offering a variety of educationally focused programs, services, and support systems including career and technical education, special and alternative education, administrative and financial services, human resources, program and professional development, information and technology support, and shared itinerant staff.
For a complete listing of BOCES programs and services, please check out the 2013-14 Service Directory.
UTICA, New York – Veterans Day was an opportunity for all Americans to thank and honor the country’s selfless soldiers. It also was a day of increased hunger and requests for help from charities like Feed Our Vets after nearly 1 million low-income veterans had their food stamps cut by Congress.
The Nov. 1 budget cut affected more than 900,000 veterans who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, according to the Center on Budget and Polity Priorities. Feed our Vets, an organization dedicated to eradicating hunger among American veterans, now expects an increase in requests for food.
“The public doesn’t realize how many veterans need assistance feeding their families,” said Richard Synek, Founder and Executive Director of Feed our Vets. “Requests for food always increase over the holidays, but they will be higher this year – and will stay high – as more veterans struggle to purchase food because of the SNAP cuts.”
In Chicago, more than 150 veterans lined up at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center on Veterans Day to get free bags of produce and canned food. Helping out, U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth recalled how her father served in three wars yet lost his home and struggled to feed his family.
Veterans who participate in SNAP tend to be younger and recently returned from service. However, Synek said, hunger among the more than 12 million veterans over 60 is reaching critical levels. Additionally, active duty families struggle when soldiers are deployed or are relocated. About 20% of the military members who get help from the Feed Our Vets Watertown food pantry are stationed at nearby Fort Drum.
“Veterans of all ages are challenged to provide food for their families,” said Synek. “There is great need, now more than ever, and Americans can help by donating to their local food pantries.”
Feed Our Vet Founder, Rich Synkek, was profiled in CNY New York’s Hometown Hero’s series. Visit their webpage to view the video.
A proud third generation veteran, Richard Syneck was born and raised in North Utica and is now a New Hartford resident. After high school at JFK he attended MVCC for one year then decided to enlist in the US Navy in 1985. Becoming a cryptologic technician, Syneck did his first six month deployment to the Mediterranean Sea. Afterwards, his ship participated in actions against Libya, code named Operation El Dorado Canyon for the Berlin, Germany disco bombing in which US service members where killed. His ship provided search and rescue operations and intelligence info. For these actions he was awarded the Navy Expeditionary Medal, among other medals and ribbons. After a few more years, Syneck was discharged from the Navy. In 2012, Rick took an early retirement from the postal service to focus on feeding America’s hungry heroes. After a few years of giving out boxes of food to veterans and their families, Rich decided to open the first pantry in the entire US dedicated to feeding our hungry and homeless military veterans, their spouses and children. “Feed Our Vets” is located on Genesee St. in Utica. Rich and his wife Michele just celebrated their 15th anniversary on Oct 4th.
UTICA, New York – More than 100 motorcycle enthusiasts raised $3,000 for Feed our Vets with an organized ride August 25th that had them heading out from Harley Davidson stores in four different towns and converging at the American Legion Post in Cicero for a celebration and barbecue.
The Second Annual 4 Points Compass Ride to benefit Feed Our Vets gave bikers, their families and several local communities an opportunity to show support for struggling veterans. Nearly 3 million American soldiers and their families don’t have enough to eat each month, and more than 130,000 veterans are homeless and hungry on any given night. An estimated 1.5 million American heroes are at risk of becoming homeless and hungry.
“This year’s event was a lot of fun and a great success,” said Richard Synek, founder and Executive Director of Feed Our Vets. “There are some amazing people in our local communities, and the area’s motorcycle riders are some of our biggest supporters. The money they raised will help us keep our food pantries stocked so that we can provide groceries struggling veterans and their families.”
Feed Our Vets operates food pantries in Utica and Watertown, and a mobile pantry that delivers food to veterans in underserved rural communities in upstate New York. The food is donated by local food manufactures and grocery stores, and purchased by Feed Our Vets with funds raised at community sponsored charity events like the Compass Ride. The pantries distribute food at regularly scheduled times to U.S. military veterans and their families.
The bikers came up with the idea for the ride in 2012 as a way to help Feed Our Vets fill its shelves before fall, when requests for help often increase. This year, the 112 riders departed from Harley stores in Watertown, Utica, Binghamton and Rochester early in the morning, and came together to complete the ride at the American Legion Post 787 in Cicero. Family members and Cicero residents joined them to show support and enjoy a barbecue lunch and live music by Lonesome Crow.
The Department of Veterans Affairs in July awarded almost $300 million in grants for homeless and low-income assistance efforts, three times what the agency spent on that program last year.
The move is part of the larger governmentwide effort to end veterans homelessness in the next two years, and comes at a time when most federal programs are tightening their belts in an effort to deal with sharp reductions in funding.
The grants through the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program are designed to provide a safety net to low-income veterans struggling with permanent housing. Awards were given to 319 community agencies across all 50 states, in an effort to provide direct and flexible assistance to veterans and their families.
Story by Leo Shane III