UTICA, N.Y. - The Utica Food Pantry is looking for donations due to increasing demand during the coronavirus pandemic.
Russell Brooks is the chairman of the Utica Food Pantry. He says the food pantry has seen a 40% increase in demand since the coronavirus pandemic started.
"We've had an influx of new people that have been coming in that have recently lost jobs and their income conditions have changed," Brooks said.
Life as we know it has changed temporarily, and the need at the food pantry is growing.
"If you asked me two or three weeks ago, if we were going to be open, I would say I wasn't sure," Brooks said.
But thanks to the community, the food pantry continues to serve those in need, but there is still need for more.
"What we desperately need are donations," Brooks said. "Food donations and monetary donations so that we can keep the shelves stocked and help these people."
"The community is keeping us going and we're trying to keep the needy in the community going," Brooks said. "When this hit we were really struggling, I can give enough thanks and appreciation to the compassion coalition, they came to our rescue and helps us on a constant basis."
The Irish Cultural Center is closed right now, so they donated perishable items like ha and potatoes. Brooks says a local caterer Dave Morgan had events canceled and donated some hams as well.
Brooks says he couldn't do it without volunteers. The food pantry has cut back on volunteers to limit the number of people inside.
"I can't say enough about these people, they come out of their houses to help others," Brooks said. "I could stay home in my house but I would be thinking about this operation shut down and these people not having food to put on their table."
It's a balancing act to continue serving the community and making sure everyone is safe at the same time.
"We only allow two people in the actual pantry itself, while they're waiting we're enforcing social distancing, we have lines that indicate how far apart they're supposed to be and basically we;re trying to keep everyone as safe as we possibly can," Brooks said. "All of the volunteers wear protective gear, they have masks and gloves."
You can donate online here or in person at the Utica Food Pantry at 729 Broadway.
If you need assistance, you will need to fill out an intake form and show proof of identity. You can find that intake form online here or at the Utica Food Pantry.
The food pantry is open Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 11 AM to 1 PM.
Below is the information for Herkimer County food pantries:
Here's the pantry info:
Dolgeville Food Pantry-
United Methodist Church-21 North Helmer Ave. Dolgeville
Hours: Thursday-3:00-4:30 PM
Annuciation Parish Center-60 West St. Ilion
Hours: Mon-Fri 1:00-300PM
Kuyahoora Valley Food Pantry
8202 St. Rte 28 Newport
Hours: Mondays-1:00-4:15 PM; Wednesdays-1:00-4:15 and 6-7 PM
Little Falls Food Pantry
Little Falls Community Center-45 Furnace St. Little Falls
Hours: Tuesday-Friday 12:00-2:00 PM
Herkimer/Mohawk (Salvation Army)
Salvation Army Bldg. 431 N. Prospect St.-Herkimer
Hours: Monday-Friday 12:30-2:30 PM
Van Hornesville/Jordanville Pantry
Van Hornesville Post Office-2178 Rte. 80-Van Hornesville
315-219-3942 Hours: Wednesday 12:30-2:30 PM
West Winfield Pantry
Federated Church-452 E. Main St. West Winfield
Hours: Monday-Friday 1:00-3:00 PM
Old Forge-St. Bartholomew's Pantry
St. Bartholomew's Church-103 Crosby Blvd. Old Forge
Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 4:00-6:00 PM
Richfield Springs Pantry
Church of Christ Uniting-14 Church St. Richfield Springs
Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:00-12 noon; 2nd and 4th Saturdays-10AM-Noon
For Otsego County, click here.