Majors Karen and Robert Bender

MASSENA — The Massena Salvation Army, like other food pantries, is continuing to serve community members, but with some modifications in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Major Robert Bender said they are distributing food from their 20 Russell Road headquarters. But, if the need arises, they are also delivering food boxes.

“We’re maintaining whatever we can. We’re limiting our hours, but I’m in the building generally all day checking voice mail. I’m making sure that I’m checking voice mail every evening. We’re trying to help as many people as we can. We don’t want to miss anybody,” he said.

“If people are in need and they haven’t reached out to anybody else or don’t have anything, they can call the office. Because of the limited number of hours we’re working, it’s important they leave a detailed message. We’ll take it from there. If it’s an emergency situation, if they’re afraid to get out or can’t get out, I can deliver food to those folks,” he said.

Major Bender said things were relatively quiet until word came that there were active cases of the coronavirus in St. Lawrence County.

“We had pre-made probably 20 to 25 food boxes. Once that word got out, we went through those food boxes in almost a day,” he said.

He said they receive food from the Food Bank of Central New York twice a week, and also purchase bread from Price Chopper.

“We distribute whatever we get from Price Chopper,” Major Bender said.

He said they normally distribute food boxes according to the size of the family. However, with more families needing assistance, the pre-packaged boxes hold the same amount of food so they can maintain their supply. If needed, he said they can offer supplements to larger families.

Anyone who is receiving food from The Salvation Army is asked to drive into the parking area and not enter the building to reinforce the social distancing guidelines.

“I’ve told people to stay in the car. We’re just handing it over to them,” Major Bender said.

For more information, call The Salvation Army at 315-769-5154.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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