Alfred University News

Alfred University professor raising funds to help local residents struggling due to COVID

COVID-19 has created numerous hardships for area residents over the last several months. For some, simply putting food on the table has become a regular challenge. At the same time, restaurants have struggled to stay afloat, their business hurt by a significant decline in patrons. Sandra Singer, Alfred University professor of German, has started a fundraising campaign that she hopes will help residents and restaurants alike cope with difficulties caused by the pandemic.


ALFRED, NY—COVID-19 has created numerous hardships for area residents over the last several months. For some, simply putting food on the table has become a regular challenge. At the same time, restaurants have struggled to stay afloat, their business hurt by a significant decline in patrons. Sandra Singer, Alfred University professor of German, has started a fundraising campaign that she hopes will help residents and restaurants alike cope with difficulties caused by the pandemic.

Singer, with help from colleague Michele Hluchy, professor of environmental studies and geology, established a gofundme campaign, “Alfred Main Street and Meals,” to raise money to purchase meals for area residents in need. Their goal is to raise $4,000, which will be used to purchase meals from four area restaurants to distribute to 100 residents once a month over the next fourth months.

Uncle Alfred’s Sub Shop will provide the first 100 meals, which will be delivered to residents on Thursday, Jan. 21. Organizers asked area churches— Lighthouse Christian Fellowship, St. Jude’s Chapel, and the Union University Church— for help in identifying residents who would benefit from the assistance.

“That seemed the best way to identify people and it seems to be working,” Singer explained. “This project is not meant to compete with permanent local programs already in place, like the Wellsville Community Kitchen, food pantries, and Meals-on-Wheels.  This is a temporary project only meant to supplement such permanent programs and services.”

Volunteers from the churches will help deliver the meals. Singer said the Terra Cotta restaurant in Alfred will participate in February, with meal distribution set for Feb. 18. Singer said she has not yet secured a commitment from restaurants to provide meals in March and April.  

Singer said she came up with the idea from a friend on Corvallis, OR, who started a similar project there to help families and businesses in their struggles amid COVID. She said she adapted her friend’s model to fit Alfred’s smaller community and rural location.

Singer credited Hluchy with helping her get the project off the ground.

“Things have been so difficult these past months for so many people that I wanted to do something to help the community. I am very fortunate to have a friend and colleague like Michele Hluchy, who has done a lot of community service,” she said. “Michele was quickly able to connect me with people who could help. Without her help, I don’t think this project would have made it out of the planning stage.”