Enrollments Increase at Salvation Army Food Pantry Ahead of Christmas Bureau Enrollments Increase at Salvation Army Food Pantry Before Christmas Bureau

Salvation Army needs more food than usual for their annual Christmas Bureau

Syracuse, NY (NCC News) If you’re looking for gift ideas this holiday season, try cereal, canned fruit, or pasta sauce. That’s what the Salvation Army’s food pantry is asking for. The organization needs more donations than ever due to higher enrollment.

“It’s gone up over 25% this year. And the need for people. Food stamps are cut back. The cost of food is so much higher right now. It’s hard to feed a family.”

For them, that’s around 1500 families coming in once a month, and when they do, they are able to personally shop in the pantry for what they would like.

This dignity inspired Shannon Keene-Yogar to join the organization.

“I can recall using their services, you know, as a young mother being treated with humanity and respect.”

This week, she’s helping with the Christmas Bureau.

“Here at the OnCenter behind me, families below a certain income level have today and tomorrow to sign up for Salvation Army’s Christmas Giveaway, which will give them the opportunity to receive toys and groceries next week.”

After showing qualifying documents this week, families come back for the distribution day on December 20th.

“Families of the signing up this week, they come back and they’re able to pick up their food package and they’re toys for their children”

“It’s going to be a good day. Definitely it’s going to be a good day.”

Eligible families can call 211 for more information, and hopefully, some of that good.

Families seeking extra food this holiday season can sign up for Salvation Army’s Christmas Bureau. The annual shopping experience gives families under a certain income level the opportunity to pick up a box of food and toys for their children.

This holiday event is a grand scale version of an experience that is offered monthly at the Salvation Army food pantry.
The dignity of being able to pick your own food is granted to every person that comes to the pantry.

They currently service around 1500 families, but have recently experienced an uptick.

“It’s gone up over 25% this year. Food stamps are cut back. The cost of food is so much higher right now. It’s hard to feed a family,” said Pam Alderman, who has worked at the pantry for 15 years.

Their food largely comes from USA foods at the Food Bank of Central New York and donations from businesses and grocery stores such as Panera, Target, and Times Market.

When patrons come in, they get a set of food that should last around 15 days, and is weighted based on the number of family members. Shoppers are given a certain amount of points in each nutritional category, receiving a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, and bonus foods.

“So to do something that you love, you know, it can be difficult at times. You know, Human Services, we’re a nonprofit. You see a lot of need, but you also see a lot of gain, you know,” said Shannon Keene-Yogar.

Keene-Yogar initially started with the Salvation Army by using their services and cited the humanity she felt when talking to the organization’s staff. Now she is helping people sign up for the Christmas Bureau this week.

The Christmas Bureau will take place December 20th. Interested families can call 211 for more information or go to the Oncenter Wednesday, December 13th 10am-4pm.

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