CROGHAN — To allow for more opportunities to obtain food, the Croghan Food Pantry has become affiliated with the Lowville Food Pantry.
There has been a food pantry in Croghan for 30 years, begun by Ellen “Kee” Proulx in the basement of St. Stephen’s Church. The pantry fell under the umbrella of Lewis County Opportunities for its non-profit status which allowed ordering from the Central New York Food Pantry. Five years ago, the pantry moved to a larger space in the basement of the Croghan Free Library, 9794 Route 812. In 2017, Mrs. Proulx’s daughter Linda Kloster took over the operation.
Mrs. Kloster said she had considered applying for non-profit status for the pantry in its own name but after talking with Daniel Taylor, director of the Lowville Food Pantry, she decided to affiliate with them.
“They have more access to food from other outlets,” Mrs. Kloster explained, noting some the major food stores donate to the pantry.
Through affiliation with the Lowville Food Pantry, the Croghan food pantry director is able to obtain fruit, vegetables, bread and baby items at no cost.
“It is saving us a lot of money on those items,” she said.
The Croghan Food Pantry serves eligible individuals and families in the Beaver River School District. According to Mrs. Kloster, the pantry supplies food to 35 to 50 families each month, averaging 43 families per month, including 15 residents of Steepleview Court, senior housing.
“We have seen an increase this year of families with children and senior citizens,” the director said. “Last year we averaged 26 children each month and so far this year we average 33. Last year we averaged 19 seniors and this year 22.”
She pointed out there are new clients but also some former clients who due to an increase in SNAP benefits no longer need the service.
The food pantry is open each Wednesday by appointment by calling 845-661-3659, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or through Facebook https://www.facebook.com/croghanfoodpantry/. Clients must meet income limits — for a family of four, the annual income must be less than $52,400 or $4,367 monthly. Consideration is also taken for those facing an emergency situation such as medical bills or job loss. At this time clients may come into the pantry but must wear a mask and gloves along with having their temperature taken. Clients receive five days worth of food each month.
Mrs. Kloster said individuals have stepped up to help the pantry. Kylie Simpson came up with a plan to not only help the pantry but aid the local grocery market. Ms. Simpson suggested people donate funds to enable clients to buy milk and eggs from Monnat’s Country Store.
Mrs. Kloster liked the idea and added the bread to the list. With donated funds, she gives vouchers to clients to be used at the store for quantities of the food items dependent on the size of the family.
In preparation for the return to school in August, the food pantry asked for the children’s names, grade level and teacher of each of our clients that wanted to participate.
“We had a generous donor that donated Walmart gift cards to use for buying school supplies for all of the children, approximately 19 students,” Mrs. Kloster said.
At this time, the food pantry is collecting donations of personal care items to distribute to clients in December. Donations of shampoo, conditioner, hair products, soap, combs, hair brushes, feminine products, soap, deodorant, toothpaste and brushes will be welcomed.
The pantry director said since the pandemic started, donations of food and household items have been down. She said donated food items are set aside for a period of time before they are shelved as a precaution from transmitting the virus and safety precautions are in place for clients visiting the pantry.
Mrs. Kloster said she is thankful for her team of volunteers.
“I couldn’t do this without the many wonderful volunteers who I am able to call on to help unload a truck, help with deliveries to Steepleview or help in the pantry if I can’t be here.”