In February the local Food Pantry located at St. Bartholomew’s Church will be distributing food under a system devised by the Food Bank of Central New York. This is just one of the changes recently undertaken.
The new system will give clients a greater choice in what their families will receive while following guidelines set down by the USDA.
Fresh milk, eggs, bread and cheese will be offered. Additional items such as cleaning supplies, hygiene products and a limited amount of baby items will also be made available.
An information center will be supplied with brochures and applications for clients who may qualify for State assistance programs.
Referrals to food pantries closer to their homes will make it easier for clients who are driving long distances for assistance without knowing that there is a pantry closer to them.
A majority of the volunteers have now been certified in Food Safety as required by New York State.
Additional classes are planned with a goal of having all volunteers certified.
All of the changes and updates have been mandated either by NY State or by the Food Bank of Central New York.
The Pantry has been able to purchase food items through the Food Bank at reduced prices and has been the recipient of grants through State programs like the Hunger Coalition.
While this makes it a great asset, the Pantry still relies heavily on donations from the general public.
It has also been fortunate enough to have the support of local businesses, said Debbie Dote, secretary of St. Bartholomew’s Church.
“There is a growing need in our area which the Pantry will strive to meet. Just during this past holiday season over 1,000 meals were distributed to local families,” she said.
The Food Pantry’s hours of operation are 4 to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Emergency assistance is always available with a call to St. Bartholomew’s Rectory at (315) 369-3554.