New York Mills, N.Y. - Feed Our Vets has been around since 2008, but there was something very different about this particular 3rd Saturday of the month food distribution here in our area on March 21st, 2020.
It's the first Saturday the Feed Our Vets Pantry has been open since the COVID-19 pandemic has basically shut local communities down.
Founder and Executive Director Richard Synek says all precautions are being taken to keep feeding local veterans in need and keeping everyone healthy, "There were lines first thing when we opened up, we had about 25 vets waiting and we made sure that they were separated by the 6 feet."
Synek says veterans sign in and show their ID and then volunteers do all the rest, "It’s running really smooth the vets are getting in, the vets are getting out." He says a shopping cart full of items is loaded into their vehicles, without them having to touch a thing.
Carl Davis of Utica served our country in the U.S. Army and admits he is in need right now, and says he has come to his 'extended family' for help, "These aren’t just veterans, these are members of my extended family and you’ll do everything you can to help your family."
Davis says coming to this pantry is something he nor any other veteran should be embarrassed about, "Because it’s coming from us, it’s coming from the guys that have been there. Because when you join the service you make an oath to your country and not only that but the saying in the Army used to be 'No Man Left Behind' and that doesn’t stop when you get out of the service, we have to help help each other out."
Feed Our Vets moved into their new location at 587 Main Street in New York Mills earlier this year, a place they now have to pay rent, whereas they didn't have a rent at their prior location on Genesee Street in Utica, but the developer that bought the building is renovating it, and only offered Feed Our Vets a small space, too small for their big operation.
Synek says with the new rent, in combination with people not donating as much over the past couple of weeks, means his agency is now in need, "Since the schools and the businesses closed down, our donations have ceased. Today we're most likely going to be giving out between 7,000 and 8,000 pounds of food, that's a lot of food, and we we've only received about a couple hundred pounds in donations."
If you would like to donate non perishable food items, or monetary donations, the pantry's address once again is 587 Main Street in New York Mills. If you have other questions or would like to volunteer, you can call (315) 982-0698.
The pantry is open every Wednesday from 2:45 P.M. to 5:45 P.M. as well as every 3rd Saturday of the month from 8:00 A.M. to 11:00 A.M..