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More people than ever seek help from food pantry in northern Warren Co.

Getting ready for a food distribution are Helpers Fund and food pantry volunteers (left to right): Mary Jane Dower; Amy Culver; supervisor of the pantry; and Margaret Andrews. Not pictured are Helen Devlin and Helpers Fund’s co-chair, Jim Fregoe.
Courtesy photo

Getting ready for a food distribution are Helpers Fund and food pantry volunteers (left to right): Mary Jane Dower; Amy Culver; supervisor of the pantry; and Margaret Andrews. Not pictured are Helen Devlin and Helpers Fund’s co-chair, Jim Fregoe. Courtesy photo

— The Helpers Fund, which has assisted hundreds of northern Warren County families facing various hardships over the past 16 years, has seen its role in helping others expand recently.

It's a little more than a year after The Helpers Fund assumed full responsibility for the Chestertown Food Pantry, and the number of people regularly assisted has grown substantially, Helpers Fund board members said recently.

The Helpers Fund's food pantry program joined the group's other outreach services, which include emergency cash assistance, clothing for families in need, food baskets during the holidays, and special grants to families facing crises.

“We now serve over 100 people a month,” Helpers Fund Food Pantry Supervisor Amy Culver said this week. She and Fund board member Mary Jane Dower said that the number of families served by the food pantry has increased since they took over its operation.

Town of Chester Supervisor Fred Monroe recently praised the Helpers Fund volunteers for their work, as he observed that the changing economy has left a large number of people in the southern Adirondack unable to meet basic needs.

“No child in the region should go to bed hungry,” Monroe said.

The Helper's Fund took over the operation of the food pantry from the town. The charitable group purchases food from the Food Bank of Northeastern New York and distributes it to those in need. The Helpers Fund has recently focused on providing nutritious food, as well as just fighting hunger.

Culver noted that although the food pantry receives some grant money from the national food bank, it's 90 percent funded by local donations.

Helpers Fund officials said this week that with economic uncertainty looming, the number of families served by the food pantry will continue to grow — particularly due to the cuts in the food stamp and home heating assistance programs.

Both Mary Jane Dower and Jim Fregoe, co-chairs of group's food pantry program, anticipate launching additional fundraising activities such as bottle drives or raffles. Presently, the Helper's Fund's annual 5K Walk Against Hunger event, held in September, is their primary fundraiser.

Monetary donations to The Helpers Fund food pantry program can be made by sending a check to: P.O. Box 691, Chestertown, New York 12817.

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