Food pantry looking for new home

Updated: Apr. 2, 2021 at 3:15 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - 2020 was a busy year for Gwen’s Food Pantry in LaFargeville.

Officials say 1,800 people were helped and 25,000 meals were handed out.

Now the pantry needs a new home.

For Director Donna Chatterton, a Friday morning delivery is much welcomed. Nothing inside the pantry’s walls appear out of place.

But, step just outside them and that all changes.

“The fire department was good enough to let us build a little addition in their truck bay and use some of their meeting room for extra storage,” said Chatterton.

She says the pantry has been operating out of the LaFargeville Fire Department since January and hasn’t missed a beat.

“My volunteers, they all know what they’re doing and they’re all excellent with our clients, so people feel at ease to come,” she said.

Gwen’s Food Pantry’s old location was a building owned by the local American Legion right next door. While not formally condemned, American Legion members say the building that housed the food pantry needs some repairs, and it was a good idea for the food pantry to move out.

“They had to move. It was getting to the point the roof was leaking really bad and the mildew was inside the walls,” said Chuck Graham, American Legion member.

But the fire station isn’t the pantry’s forever home. Chatteron says she doesn’t want to overstay her welcome.

“I would like my own entity, so I didn’t feel like I was infringing on other people’s rights and their space,” she said.

That’s something easier said than done. Chatterton says the food pantry and its overseeing council have looked for land or property to move to, but there have been issues with the few potential landing spots they’ve found.

“This is why we’re trying to see who might come forth with something that could help us out,” she said.

So, for now, Gwen’s Food Pantry will continue its work from inside the fire hall with the hopes that sometime soon, it will have a new place to call home.

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