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Putting the issue of food insecurity on the map

(WBNG) — A Binghamton University graduate student is putting the issue of food insecurity on the map.

Ben Levine studies geography and is now helping fight the problem that he says is prevalent in our area and on his own campus.

“Something like 35 to 45 percent of students through the SUNY system experience food insecurity and I think this is just one point of food relief,” said Levine.

The map shows where free meals are held, and on the back are the details like what days of the week you can attend and what other services these locations offer.

Levine says his eyes were first opened up to the issue after speaking with a man who used to be homeless.

“A couple months after that I ran into him at Confluence Park, and he said he was going to a community meal and invited me,” said Levine.

And not long after attending that meal, he ran into a few more people who are affected by food insecurity first-hand.

“I ran into a homeless couple outside of the University Downtown Center who asked me how to get to a meal whose address wasn’t clear based on the information they had been provided, so that’s when the idea solidified in me to make this map,” said Levine.

While Levine is working to fight food insecurity, the importance of these meals go beyond what’s on the menu.

“I think it is a good way to feel a sense of community, to get out of your comfort zone,” he said.

He is now working on creating an updated version of the map, adding more locations throughout Broome County.

You can view a copy of the map by clicking here. Details for each of the weekly meals are listed here.

Annie Flaherty

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