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Food Pantry offers food, hope to North Country

NORTH CREEK - Two Tuesdays every month, the Johnsburg Food Pantry, located at the North Country Outreach Center, is buzzing with activity.

On the second and fourth Tuesdays from 1 - 3 p.m. and again from 5 - 7 p.m., eligible area residents gather to select healthy foods to supplement their food budgets. Using shopping carts and re-usable shopping bags, participants select their own foods using USDA guidelines.

A warm and welcoming atmosphere created by volunteers is meant to encourage anyone who needs the service to feel comfortable coming to the pantry.

Truly a community effort, the pantry is staffed entirely by volunteers who donate over 100 hours every month. Supported by grants, fund raising efforts and private donations the majority of food for the pantry is purchased through the Regional Food Bank in Latham. A small portion of the food supplies comes from the gleaning and is transported from it's Brant Lake delivery site by volunteers who donate their time, energy and personal vehicles. Additional volunteers enthusiastically make two trips per month to Latham to gather fresh produce for distribution. Food drives by local organizations also help keep the shelves stocked.

The tough economic situation has increased the number of people needing pantry services. Still, the board of NCOC as well as pantry volunteers are concerned that there are eligible residents who are hesitant about asking for help.

The pantry's mission is to reach all the people who need help with their food supply and applying can be done whenever the pantry is open. Applicants take food home the same day as they apply. All information is kept confidential. Eligibility guidelines are posted outside the pantry which is located at the back of the North Country Outreach Center building. Emergency food boxes are also available to any Johnsburg area resident who finds themselves in a food crisis. Anyone in need of an emergency food supply is asked to leave a message at 251-3481. They will get a response within 48 hours.

Volunteers are always needed to help with transporting, unloading, stocking or distributing food items. Those interested in volunteering for a pantry activity are asked to contact Anita Abrams at 251-2138 or jaelford@frontiernet.net.

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