Group comes to Lowville to can chicken, fight hunger

Published: Apr. 14, 2023 at 5:24 PM EDT
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LOWVILLE, New York (WWNY) - “Together we can.” That’s the motto of a group that was in Lowville Friday to can thousands of pounds of chicken to help fight hunger.

“We are canning 16,000 pounds of chicken and it’s for humanitarian relief around the world,” said Jeremy Kelly, canning committee chair.

After mounds of meat were ground and loaded onto trays, they were taken aboard the Mennonite Central Committee’s mobile canning station. Lowville is the last leg of its cross-country journey.

“It is the only mobile canner that is in operation. It is USDA inspected so we are able to do canned meat according to that,” said Joel Miller, canning associate.

How does one acquire such a massive amount of meat to can? Donations. A notable one comes from the Northern New York Community Foundation.

What about the rest?

“For the most part, just people. The local community just donates and we raised $60,000,” said Kelly.

16,000 pounds of chicken translates to roughly 10,000 cans. After being put in a pressure cooker, cleaned, and labeled, many will be shipped to areas in the middle of humanitarian crises like Ukraine, Ethiopia, and parts of the Middle East.

“I guess I thought a lot about every child that may have a good meal,” said volunteer Larry Herr.

Although most of the cans are being sent overseas. About 10% will be sent to pantries across the north country.

“We can increase the amount of meat that we do. We hope to do that in the future,” said Kelly.

This was the fourth year the canner has made its way to Lowville, and organizers say nothing can stop them from bringing it back for a fifth.