TICONDEROGA - The Ticonderoga Food Pantry is changing.
"When I started working here we served mostly unemployed people," said Emma Williams, who has volunteered 16 years at the pantry. "Now it's a lot of working families who just can't make ends meet."
Margaret Beuerlein, pantry director, agrees.
"When gas prices starting getting near $4 (a gallon) a few years ago we started seeing a lot of new people," she said. "We used to get 35-40 people a month. That's more than doubled."
The Ticonderoga Food Pantry now serves 85-100 families a month.
"That's families," John Williams, a pantry volunteer, pointed out. "We're feeding a lot of people."
Located in the basement of the First United Methodist Church at 1045 Wicker St., the pantry is sponsored by the Ticonderoga Area Clergy Association. It's a non-denominational service open 11 a.m. to noon Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
The pantry is open to Ticonderoga and Putnam residents and follows federal income guidelines. Those guidelines start at $20,000 a year for a single person and go up to $68,000 for a family of eight. All food pantry information is strictly confidential.
People can come to the pantry once a month to get three days - nine meals - food.
Besides helping feed families, the pantry responds to local emergencies such as fires and floods.
The Ti Food Pantry has a wide range of foods, including infant formula and baby food. It also offers personal hygiene items such as soap and laundry detergent.
"Our goal is to meet the needs of the people who use the pantry," Beuerlein said. "We don't have any junk food, no soda or chips. We offer nutritious foods for families."
This summer the pantry has been able to supply families with fresh vegetables donated by local gardeners.
The Ti pantry is supported by community efforts and operated by a group of about 25 volunteers. A member of the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, the local pantry depends on local food drives and donations.