WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - For the Urban Mission, feeding the hungry isn’t just a Monday through Friday job. The nonprofit is getting people supplies on a Saturday.
Rick Leone, a Care Coordinator with the Children’s Home of Jefferson County, was in search of formula for the family of a child he works with. But on such short notice, finding it wasn’t a certainty.
“I decided to look up on my list of contacts, and hope. So luckily, Urban Mission was open on Saturday,” said Leone.
For the first time, the Watertown Urban Mission opened its food pantry on a Saturday.
Executive Director Dawn Cole says it's a way to reach a new audience.
“Maybe some of those individuals who were recently laid off as a result of the pandemic,” said Cole.
Patrons can’t come inside. Instead, they call the nonprofit so staff can get a box of food and supplies ready, and it’s all brought out to the customer.
“The socially responsible thing to do was to offer curbside,” said Cole.
The Impossible Dream Thrift Store is the Urban Mission’s main source of funding, but they’ve had to temporarily close because of COVID-19. As a show of solidarity for the staff that’s been laid off, people working the food pantry are wearing Impossible Dream shirts.
“We’re showing support for our employees that are home, and let the community know we’re still here. We’re going to open stronger than ever,” said Linda Johnston, the Impossible Dream Thrift Store Manager.
Johnston is the only remaining employee from Impossible Dream but, Cole says the layoffs are only temporary.
“We fully anticipate that, when the crisis is abated, and it’s socially responsible to open up our business, that we will have marvelous grand opening of the thrift store,” said Cole.
And for people stopping by the food pantry this weekend, they might get a little more than they expected.
“I tried to do this to set them up for a weekend, and it looks like it’s going to set them up for a week at least,” said Leone.
Cole says they'll keep the food pantry open on Saturdays for the foreseeable future.