June 7, 2023

Food pantries continue to help their community during COVID-19


By William Bradseth

 All throughout the Mohawk Valley food pantries continue to adjust to the Coronavirus in order to help their communities and provide food for families in need.

Packed boxes at the Dolgeville Food Pantry. Picture by William Bradseth

With help from Feeding America, and the USDA food pantries are able to provide food for families across the country. Feeding America has been doing their part to provide for families in need. They have recently launched the COVID-19 response fund, a national food- and fund raising effort to support hungry people across the country. Feeding America is helping food banks, and food pantries across the country get enough food to feed everyone in need.

“The food bank gets donations from the USDA and that stuff that would normally be shipping overseas to foreign countries and stuff like that, now they’re not shipping it out so much. They’re handing it to Feeding America and they go down through the food chain down to us.” said the  coordinator of the Dolgeville Food Pantry, Spike Seeley.

Food pantries across the country are flooded with new people trying to get the food necessary to feed their families. Spike Seeley recently stated how their food pantry has picked up 22 new families since the month of March. Other food pantries across the Mohawk Valley have experienced similar increases in the number of people in need of food.

“This month I’ve helped more people than I have in the last two months. Usually I help anywhere between 12-18 families… but I’ve had 30-35 families just for the month of April.” Said the director of the Boonville Food Pantry, Crystal Dauback.

Workers preparing for the day at the Boonville Food Pantry. Picture by Crystal Dauback

Food pantries have had to adjust to how they run their pantries. With social distancing, pantries have had to be cautious with how they give food out.

“One person at a time and if a husband and wife come in I usually have one them wait outside or in the hall. Obviously we wear masks and gloves… I’m the only one that’s there that runs the food pantry right now. I have two other people that help me but we try to just have one person… and I also have the hours usually we’re 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and now I’m 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.” said Dauback.

Businesses have had to learn to adapt to the changes caused by the Coronavirus. Social distancing forced businesses to limit their number of workers, and change the way they run their businesses. Kings Provision, a food giveaway program run by the Dolgeville Christian Fellowship church is no different.

“Because we’re not doing this inside, we don’t need that many volunteers. We had probably seven or eight volunteers on Wednesday and they just stood on the curb and people pulled up and said what they needed, who they were, and then the appropriate box was put in their trunk or wherever they wanted it… we would probably have around 25 to 30 normally.” said the pastor of the Dolgeville Christian Fellowship church, Marvin Isum.

Giving is something that people throughout the Mohawk Valley have continued to do to support their local food pantries.

“We’ve had people come in and just bring food and knock on the door and drop it off and leave. I have a couple that I’ve never seen before that goes to Tops everyday and checks to see if they have day old bread or anything they’ve pulled off the shelf that’s still within the sell by date, which they pull them off three to five days in advance and they throw them out. So this couple saw them doing that and said “can we take that to the food pantry and they said sure.” Said Dauback.

“Remain in your car” sign outside the Dolgeville Food Pantry. Picture by William Bradseth

 Food pantries across the country are finding new ways to help their communities. Throughout  the Mohawk Valley food pantries continue to adjust to the Coronavirus in order to help their communities and provide food for families in need.

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