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January 3, 2014

Providing food on the plate for needy

PLATTSBURGH — Two days into 2014, 23 Clinton County households representing 79 people received a four-day supply of food from the Plattsburgh Interfaith Food Shelf.

Volunteers Ron Dumas, Joe Monette and Steve Novacich stacked foodstuffs in the pantry of the Plattsburgh United Methodist Church after a recent run to the Food Shelf’s warehouse on the U.S. Oval.

“We’ve been averaging about 660 household visits per month and around 2,000 people per month that we are serving,” said Dorothy Latta, co-coordinator with Dot Crawford.

“It’s up quite a bit. I haven’t looked at the final numbers for the end of December but by the end of November, we were up over 1,600 people relative to 12 months the year before. So we had already exceeded 2012 by the end of November. We’re probably up 14 percent or so relative to last year.”

Latta attributes the rise to a constellation of factors.

“I think the local economy in general and with that over the last year we’ve had higher costs of living in terms of gas prices,” she said.

“We’ve all been to the grocery store. My groceries have gone up. I think two things that have happened recently that we may or may not see an impact, the changes in the funding for the SNAP Program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, what used to be known as Food Stamps. They had received in 2011, I believe it was, some additional stimulus money and that ended at the end of October. So people really reverted back to the levels they were a few years ago and that came to a decrease of about $11 a person. So a household of four are getting about $45 less, which is pretty significant with the food.”

Dec. 29, 2013, marked the end of long-term unemployment benefits for 1.3 million Americans.

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