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JPC provides food and school supplies to more than 600 households

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Hundreds of cars lined the 1300 block of West Street in Utica for the Johnson and Park Center food and school supply giveaway.

UTICA, N.Y. - Hundreds of cars lined the 1300 block of West Street in Utica for the Johnson and Park Center food and school supply giveaway. 

Organizers say two to four households were in each car, some people bringing grandparents to make sure they also had access to food. 

“The children have something to eat and they have the material to learn so we are raising the next generation of leaders and that's what the Johnson Park Center is all about, we want to raise positive successful children," said Ursula Meier, Chief Operations Officer of JPC. 

Residents who had a pantry card were able to move quickly through the line, others were asked to register so they can continue to use the card in the future. 

2,000 bags of school supplies filled with filler paper, notebooks, binders, crayons, etc. were given to families with children starting school this year. 

"I mean when you think about people struggling to put food on the table or buy pencils it's something that no one should have to make that decision for with kids in their family so anything the community can do to help out, I know they're giving away food and all the school supplies so it's a wonderful thing and everyone here needs it," said Deidre Mazzara. 

The giveaway was free thanks to donations from the public and sponsors of JPC, including M&T Banks and Bank of Utica. 

"I count my blessings, I thank God and I thank them for doing it because if they didn't do it, who's going to help us," said Marie, who’s a grandmother of four girls. 

Another food and school supply giveaway will take place Tuesday, August 23rd on 1400 West Street in Utica. The event is only for those who are walking and will run from 2:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. 

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