Tuesday, September 02, 2014

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Carthage food pantry shelves dangerously low

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Carthage food pantry shelves dangerously low
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Every food pantry in the country can always use more, whether it be food, hygiene products or books and toys. But the shelves in a small setup in Northern New York are dangerously empty. As our Brian Dwyer reports, the pantry's volunteers are asking for your help.

CARTHAGE, N.Y. -- The volunteers at the VEM Food Pantry in Carthage are loading food into freezers, refrigerators and shelves. It's food that'll all be gone in less than 48 hours.

"We're living from truck to truck, donation to donation. Every single day, our shelves run out of food," VEM Food Pantry Assistant Director Jordanya Reeves said of the pantry's current situation.

In a time where it seems everyone can use a little help, the pantry is serving twice as many families as it did just last year.

"People who for years, last year or the year before were donating to the food pantry are now having to come into the food pantry," Director Darlene Jensen said.

The pantry recently got a $7,500 grant that's supposed to last until next summer. The demand for food has been so high, it's almost all gone.

Donations aren't keeping pace either. By December, the pantry could be completely bare, forcing some people in Carthage into making some tough decisions.

"Do I pay my electric bill or do I get food? Do I put gas in my car or do I get food?" Jensen said of those decisions.

Even if that $7,500 was enough to cover the food alone, which it's not, it would not cover things like napkins and soap. They're products people in this community depend on every day and products the pantry's in dire need of.

"We call those dignity items," Reeves said. "You can feed your family, but if you don't have any soap to clean your family, that's just something we provide."

But pantry volunteers aren't going down easy. There's already several fundraisers planned over the fall and winter. Doing anything to let people know how serious this is.

"People don't realize there's a need unless somebody says something. Once they realize, people are so generous," Reeves said of the Carthage community.

There's even a push to get local farmers and just everyday household gardeners to bring in fresh produce.

The first of those fundraisers will be a week from Saturday, September 8th. It'll be an open house for people to take a look at the pantry for themselves.

It starts at 10 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m.

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