Last week, we announced a pledge to contribute $1.5 million throughout the next five years to the Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP). This pledge was fortunately timed as a larger number of people have been filing through food pantries due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation. NAP’s partnership with the Weinberg Northeast Regional Foodbank allows food banks across the region to benefit from this pledge.
This week, we wanted to follow up with you and show you just how this money is being utilized.
The Caring Community Food Pantry is one of two primary food distribution programs in upper Susquehanna County supported by the Weinberg Food Bank. As part of the NAP pledge, $2,000 went to this pantry, which could extend their offerings for at least another month.
“This is a big deal,” said Bonnie Yeisley, who has run the Caring Community Food Pantry at the Great Bend United Methodist Church with Donna Cicon for the past five years. “The Cabot grant will really go a long way right now helping people facing food insecurity.”
In order to comply with safety precautions, food pantries cannot allow recipients to come in and make their own selections. For this reason, food packages were created to hand out to recipients.
“Our program isn’t intended to keep them from going to buy their own food,” Bonnie maintained. Many families only come in when school is out, and at least 10 new families came through on March 20. “They wouldn’t be there if they didn’t need food,” she remarked. “People aren’t going out. They are staying home.”
Another distribution at the church on the fourth Thursday of the month from the Weinberg Food Pantry – called the Truck Program – is extended to all nearby Susquehanna County residents who have preregistered by calling Jim Valentine at 607-775-1827.
Weinberg Northeast Regional Food Bank executive director Gene Brady noted that the agency has been working with folks in Great Bend for many years. “They have stepped up during the pandemic to continue the essential operation of providing for their community,” he said of the efforts of pantry workers. “The funding for obtaining the food has been generously provided by Cabot, who is a key partner in helping to keep people fed during these difficult times.”
“By utilizing NAP and partnering with the Weinberg Food Bank, we’re able to support even more community organizations that are fighting to end food insecurity,” said George Stark, Director of External Affairs at Cabot.