Feeding the need: Food pantries see uptick in demand

Feeding the need: Food pantries see uptick in demand
Published: Nov. 24, 2022 at 8:31 AM EST
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ALEXANDRIA BAY, New York (WWNY) - Ahead of Thanksgiving, some local food pantries were seeing an increase in traffic and an increase in the cost to keep shelves stocked.

Pickup orders were rolling out at the Alexandria Bay community food pantry.

Pantry volunteers say they’re starting to see pre-pandemic traffic numbers.

Coordinator Susan Stoughgenger says with high inflation this year, this is expected.

“I think with the price of food, fuel, and rent and that type of thing, we’ve been crazy busy, crazy busy.”

However, it is common for traffic to pick up around the holidays.

Stoughgenger says deliveries from the Food Bank of Central New York tend to cost the food pantry around $3,000 this time of year, but they’re currently paying close to $5,000.

“We are seeing obviously an increase in cost to keep our shelves stocked, like everyone else is seeing,” Stoughgenger said, “but we are holding our own and we’re just grateful to everybody that does help us out.”

The Alexandria Bay pantry usually serves 80 to 100 families each month during the holidays...a number that the coordinator says is already going up...

The Alexandria Bay food pantry isn’t the only one seeing an increase in cost and client traffic during this time of the year. The coordinator at the Theresa food pantry says the same.

“This time of year, we do the turkey box, so we definitely have an increase in our cost because we provide the things that would be with the turkey,” coordinator Regina Ryder said. “We are very fortunate, though, people did donate a lot of the turkeys so we’re able to keep the cost down some.”

Besides Thanksgiving meal items, both Alexandria Bay and Theresa food pantries are getting ready to stock up for Christmas, something coordinators say needs to be done for the community — no matter the cost.