Local Food Bank Distributes More During Pandemic Local Food Bank Distributes More During Pandemic

Reporter: The University United Methodist Church food pantry served about 50 people before the pandemic. Now, they see at least 300 every Friday.

Lessie Newton: I worked like 47 years up to SU. When I left there, I had a handicapped granddaughter that I took an early retirement to go take care of her.

Reporter: Early retirement and the pandemic changed Newton’s finances. She has come to the pantry for four months.

Newton: I don’t get the same money I was getting, you know, when I was working, and it’s kind of hard now.

Reporter: The pantry provides Newton with enough food that lasts a week. That’s plenty for her home of four. 

Newton: We couldn’t get what we got because of them. I tell them all the time thank you for everything. I tell them all the time.

Reporter: Newton and many others come to the food pantry to receive items like cereal, eggs, and canned goods on a weekly basis. This food comes partly from the Food Bank of Central New York.

Lynn Hy: Compare March first through September 30th 2019 to that same time frame in 2020, we went from nine million pounds to more than 15 million pounds of food and it was a 63 percent increase in the amount of pounds distributed out.

Reporter: Production at the Food Bank of Central New York will run like usual for the holidays. This means that Newton and others in the community won’t have to worry about food for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Reporting from Syracuse. Caleb Britt. N-C-C News.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News)- The Food Bank of Central New York has seen an increase in food distributed to families since many children attend a school with a hybrid-learning plan.

Parents can’t rely on their children to receive breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday from schools anymore, which saved parents money before the pandemic, according to the food bank’s chief development officer Lynn Hy.

“It’s a basic human right for people to be able to grow and thrive and having nutritious food is so important,” Hy said. “It’s a key component to the success of a person.”

There has also been a rise in food donated to senior citizens who have been afraid to leave their home because of COVID-19.

“We’re working with the county to identify low-income senior housing facilities and get food right to those facilities so that the seniors don’t have to go out and endanger themselves with the virus, but they still have access to nutritious food,” Hy said.

The food bank has a 36,000 square feet warehouse that holds more than 950 pallets of food.

The warehouse includes a 25,000 square feet refrigerator that holds 400 pallets of food and a freezer that holds more than 900 pallets.

Distribution vehicles deliver food to the food bank’s partner agencies Monday through Friday and pick up donations from local grocery stores and other food partner programs.

Partner agencies include food pantries, soup kitchens and emergency shelters within 11 counties, which are Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego and St. Lawrence.

Related Articles