Mac’s General Store on Ithaca College’s campus is now hosting a program that allows students to spend their Bonus Bucks to purchase food items for the Food Bank of the Southern Tier. The program was first pitched by sophomore Gabby Picca to administrators in the Fall 2017 semester after she realized that she and other students were buying random products at Mac’s with leftover Bonus Bucks. The program was enacted April 2, and from April 2 to April 11, the store had 36 individual donations that totaled $480 of student Bonus Bucks.
The donation program through Mac’s is a great way to prevent food waste, help the larger Ithaca community and make students feel that their money isn’t being wasted. Mac’s offers a $5 bundle, a $10 bundle and a $20 bundle for students to purchase and donate to the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, and the contents of these bundles were determined by the Food Bank itself.
Mac’s piloted a similar program during the Spring 2017 semester and found mild success with it, but these were donations randomly selected by students rather than predetermined product combinations. Not only is Mac’s finding a way to make sure its surplus stock is not going to waste, but the food if filling a real, tangible need.
It’s also a mutually beneficial program for Mac’s and the Food Bank of the Southern Tier but it also gives students a much more meaningful way to use their Bonus Bucks at the end of the year. When students do not use all their Bonus Bucks, the remaining funds are put back into the college’s budget at the end of the year.
While some students have raided Mac’s and SubConnection to use their last few bonus bucks on snacks at the end of the spring semester to make sure they made the most of their meal plan, this program offers an alternative to haphazard spending. This food bank donation program allows students to make a conscious, intentional decision to support those in need.
Picca should most definitely be commended for this program, as it benefits almost everyone involved. In addition, though, students should strongly consider donating their unused Bonus Bucks before Commencement, as this is one of the easiest and straightforward ways for students to give back and spend their money wisely at the same time.