PLATTSBURGH — The numbers were up a little bit in terms of the number of people served at the Plattsburgh Interfaith Food Shelf.
“We were up around 3 percent, 3.5 percent relative to 2018,” Dorothy Latta, coordinator, said.
“Last year, we served 18,513 people, close to 6,000 households.
That is a lot of people.
“I will say that relative to the ones that we served in 2012 to 2016, the numbers were higher but these are a little bit higher than they were last year.
The cost of food risen as well as the cost of living.
“I think that might be as much a factor as anything else,” Latta said.
“We are an emergency food pantry. So people don't come every month or every week for assistance.”
Over half of the clients that come to the Food Shelf located at the Plattsburgh United Methodist Church on Beekman Street, come only once or twice a year.
“It's really when things are short for a particular month,” she said.
“When the cost of things go up, it can be squeezing you in a lot of different directions.
“January is always our busiest month by far. We can only speculate.”
Reasons include holiday spending and expenditures for utilities during the winter season.
“Many of our clients will hopefully get some tax refund but they don't usually come until February or March,” Latta said.
“January has just always been a busy month. We attribute that in part to holiday spending, kids being home for a couple of weeks and having to buy other things.”
The shelves are stocked, but financial donations were down for 2019.
“We have been able to serve everybody who needs food, and that's really what's most important for us,” Latta said.
“We keep a bit of a reserve of money. We're certainly not looking to stockpile money or make a profit or anything. We keep a little that in reserve, and we have had to dip into that a little bit. But that fluctuates also. The community is still incredibly generous with their donations.”
Donations are received from area schools as well as SUNY Plattsburgh.
“Even though it's the Interfaith Food Shelf, the whole community really helps out, which is really wonderful,” she said.
The Plattsburgh Interfaith Food Shelf is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. On Fridays it reopens from 4 to 6 p.m.
“They can just show up,” Latta said.
“Our food pantry, there are no financial requirements or restrictions. We do not ask any questions about income or why you need food. Anyone who comes will be served. Residents of Clinton County is who are designated for.”
People should bring an identification for their first visit.
PLASTIC BAG BAN
Last year in July, the Food Shelf ceased using plastic bags for distribution.
“We welcome donations not only food but also reusable bags, canvas bags,” Latta said.
The annual Grateful Fed Appreciation will be held from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on March 28 at the
VFW Post 125 located at 116 Boynton Ave. in Plattsburgh.
“This is to show appreciation to the community for all their support,” she said.
“Free admission, free entertainment, raffle baskets. Just a good time. An enjoyable afternoon at no cost.”
Email Robin Caudell: