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  • Sue Smith Romero

Stories from the Food Giveaways

Updated: Sep 14, 2020

The economic effects of COVID-19 have taken their toll on many Utica families, but with your help the Utica Food Pantry is offering hope.

Vanessa steadily inched her car forward in the line that wrapped around the Utica Brewery District neighborhood on the morning of July 30. It took about an hour, but finally her destination came into view. It was a white tent set up in the Irish Cultural Center’s parking lot. And under it, volunteers were grabbing boxes of fresh food to load into the waiting cars.

Vanessa had come to the Utica Food Pantry’s drive-through giveaway to help feed her three kids. Like so many others since the COVID-19 pandemic began, this was the first time she had ever looked to a food pantry for help. When the schools closed in mid-March, her job as a lunch monitor was put on hold, leaving her without the income she depended on.

Looking at the two cardboard boxes filled with sliced ham, chicken sausages, cheese, milk, carrots, potatoes, apples, and oranges, she said, “This is a big help!”

Like Vanessa, Lori had also been unemployed since March when she was laid off from her nursing job. With the extra $600 in pandemic unemployment benefits ended, she’s left with only $300 a week to cover her living expenses.

Kim, a mother of two, saw her hours cut at the factory where she works due to the pandemic. And with her kids out of school, she’s seen her grocery bills rise. “I’ll be able to pay another bill if I have enough food,” she said.

In just two hours, 16,000 pounds of food went home with hardworking families like these suffering from the economic impact of COVID-19.

The Utica Food Pantry organized three giveaways during the pandemic that put much-needed food into 715 families’ cupboards.

Find out how you can help feed more families on our community by visiting our Support Us Page.

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