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IC Food for Thought: Raising Dough to Feed Children

Written by Haley Davis

Plumpynut Walk

On Oct. 8, the campus and community joined together on a beautiful sunny day in Ithaca to participate in the Walk for Plumpy’nut. The name may seem silly, but it’s a term used to describe a cause that is saving children worldwide.

Plumpy’nut is a peanut-based therapeutic food that's packed with vitamins, minerals, nutrients and proteins and can literally save a child from dying of malnourishment.

“Plumpy’nut is specifically made for children five years old or younger, the most critical age of a child's development,” explains Liz Stoltz, president of IC Food for Thought and walk organizer.

The 5K Walk for Plumpy’nut is only one of many events organized by IC Food for Thought, but it’s their largest. The walk was organized to raise money in order to buy packets of Plumpy’nut for Concern Worldwide’s feeding centers in Ethiopia.



A representative from Concern Worldwide attended the walk and brought bracelets used to measure the biceps of children under the age of five. When a child’s arm measures in the “red zone,” they are at serious risk and are given Plumpy’nut.

“The red zone was approximately the size of a quarter, which gives you an idea of how thin these malnourished children are,” sophomore Erin Smith says. This year Smith shadowed a member of the Food for Thought executive board so she could take over as communications director of the group. Meanwhile, she was also organizing a walk team with another organization she's involved with, TOMS Club.

TOMS Club wasn’t the only group walking for Plumpy’nut. Stoltz says the club had help from multiple student organizations, as well as students from Dryden High School — not to mention some great background music IC's own WICB! “We really had tremendous community support, both from on and off campus members,” Stoltz explains. 

“There was great energy from all the walk participants,” Food for Thought secretary John Vogan says, who participated in his second Walk for Plumpy’nut this year. 

With the help of community and campus support, the walk raised over $1,400, adding to the $4,000 IC Food for Thought already raised this year. Since it costs $20 to feed a child for a month, this is a significant contribution to the health of a child.

“The only way I can describe my feelings during the event was that my heart was happy, I felt fulfilled,” Smith says. “I want to do this again next year with even bigger success.”

Vogan agrees. “We helped support a very important and worthwhile cause while having fun at the same time," he says. 

The walk wouldn’t exist — or be as successful — without the organization of IC Food for Thought president Liz Stoltz.

“Liz Stoltz has done such a wonderful job at helping us as students realize our potential and capacity for change by starting an event like this and making every single participant feel the impact they’re making in the lives of these children,” Smith explains.

Stoltz's hard work has paid off. She began organizing these walks in her hometown five years ago, and since then, Stoltz helped raise $20,000 to purchase Plumpy'nut for Concern Worldwide. By forming IC Food for Thought, the Walk for Plumpy’nut will continue annually in Ithaca, raising money and spreading awareness about a silly name, with a not-so-silly cause. 

“We thought it would be a one-time fundraiser," Stoltz says, "but after we saw how responsive the community was to our event, we knew we couldn't let it end there."




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