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  • Sue Smith Romero

A Very Fulfilling Role

Assemblymember Marianne Buttenschon reflects on her time as vice president of the Utica Food Pantry’s board of directors.

Many of us know Marianne Buttenschon as the NY State Assemblymember for the 119th District. But you may not know that she served as vice president of the Utica Food Pantry’s Board of Directors from 2015 to 2018.

“It was very rewarding,” she said, “because it’s a working board.” She liked the hands-on contributions she was able to make in fundraising, organizing special events, and helping out at the pantry.

Coordinating with the Utica Fire Department on the UFP’s annual Thanksgiving turkey giveaways is a memory that stands out for her. “I remember one time when a gentleman came up to me and said how much he appreciated the turkey we gave him,” she said. “And to this day, he still volunteers at the pantry.” In fact, he painted the bright green walls in the UFP lobby.

“Most of the individuals who come in are very humble and thankful,” she said. “There are many heartwrenching and positive stories you see.”

Besides the experience of actively helping people and getting to know their struggles, Ms. Buttenschon said she valued the strong sense of dedication shared by UFP board members. She has great admiration for the UFP’s President Russ Brooks and noted that she saw him and his wife Marianne Brooks (also a UFP board member) at a recent giveaway loading bags of food into the waiting cars, undaunted by the pouring rain.

“Being a board member is very fulfilling,” she said. Each board member has different connections, talents, and experiences to offer. “Everybody brings something to the table, and then the table is full. It’s good for everyone.”

Would you like to bring your talents to the table and become a member of The Utica Food Pantry’s board of directors? If you would like to join us, please email Armand Mastraccio at

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