Press-Republican

February 26, 2013

Local food pantries serving more households

By RUTHANN ALEXANDER
Press-Republican

---- — PLATTSBURGH — Nancy Hobbs hopes the Interfaith Food Shelf will raise enough food and money for hungry people this year.

In January, the Plattsburgh organization provided food to 2,312 people, 435 more than at the same time last year, according to Hobbs, a Food Shelf volunteer. That’s 726 households, up from 576 in January 2012.

The latest numbers include 80 households that Hobbs said had not been served before.

Interfaith Food Shelf is again working to win funds from the Feinstein Foundation, which will distribute $1 million nationwide this year proportionally among the groups that take part in its the challenge set for March 1 through April 30.

Hobbs is encouraging people, clubs and local businesses to donate double what they otherwise would have given within that time period.

Donations may be monetary, pledges or food, which will be valued at $1 per item or pound.

“People are more apt to give when they know their donation will (earn more for the cause),” Hobbs said.

MANY HELP

The Interfaith Food Shelf is located at Plattsburgh United Methodist Church on Beekman Street, where donors can drop off food and donations, as well. 

Hours are 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday and 4 to 7 p.m. Friday evenings.

Hobbs said clubs, churches, schools and local businesses donate to the Interfaith Food Shelf regularly, among them the YMCA and Price Chopper.

“There are a lot of people responsible for the success of the organization,” she said.

There are no special qualifications for people to receive food from the Interfaith Food Shelf. All are welcome, no matter how much money they make, because it is an emergency place for the needy to obtain food, Hobbs said.

She thinks the Feinstein Challenge is beneficial because it gives money back to the organizations that feed people.

“I think that’s a wonderful feeling, that there are people who are that charitable and giving,” she said. “There’s a great satisfaction in giving to others in need.”

MOOERS FOOD PANTRY

The Mooers Wesleyan Church Food Pantry also will participate in the Feinstein Challenge, said Co-Director Luanne Willette.

The Food Pantry served 170 families in January and again so far this month, she said; last year, an average 150 families were assisted per month.

To qualify for assistance, people must be residents of the communities of Altona, Mooers, Mooers Forks, Ellenburg, Champlain, Rouses Point, Chazy or West Chazy. 

They must also show proof of residency, such as utility bills or bank statements.

The Food Pantry, located in the community room of Mooers Wesleyan Church, 149 Maple St. in Mooers, is open from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesdays.

Contributors may donate any kind of boxed or canned foods, including cans of tuna, because the organization can’t afford to buy it anymore, Willette noted.

Monetary donations are also welcome because the organization can stretch its dollars far at the Regional Food Bank in Latham, Willette said.

“We can do very well at the Regional Food Bank,” she said. “I can get a lot of things for 16 cents per pound.”

A lot of recipients of food from the organization are elderly people and parents with young children.

“Our mission statement is to serve the disabled, elderly and low income of the eight (communities),” Willette said.