LOWVILLE — The construction of the new building for the Lowville Food Pantry has moved into its third phase.
The outside of the building is complete, and workers have framed out the separate rooms in the new two-story, 3,600-square-foot steel pantry building on the 5502 Trinity Ave. property that was “sold” to the organization by Quibica/AMF Worldwide LLC for $1 in 2016.
According to pantry CEO Daniel N. Taylor, the new food pantry will have a reception area where there will be clothes and shoes for the taking. A handicap accessible restroom will be installed off the waiting room and the intake room where clients can have privacy when applying for services. To further ensure confidentiality, the paperwork will be passed through a window to volunteers who will help fill the food order for clients who will then leave through a separate exit. The majority of the building will be for the storage of food items. In the main storage area, freezer and refrigerator units will be installed to help prolong the shelf life of bread, fruits, vegetables and meat and dairy products.
The upper level over the warehouse will be utilized for light storage. Trucks will be able to deliver pallets of food to the back of the building where there will be room for sorting. Mr. Taylor also said there will be space for pet food, which must be kept separate from the food for human consumption.
Another advantage of the new location is the old building on the property that previously served as a casket company and was later used to create bowling pins, will be kept in place for storage. In addition, the property is gated, which will prevent the dumping of items at the pantry when it is not open.
In the third phase of construction, the heating, electrical and plumbing will be installed, then the final finish stage will begin. It is hoped that the project, which faced delays due to changes in the insulation required for the building, extra time needed for the New York State Electric and Gas Corp. to install gas lines, along with weather challenges, will be complete by fall.
The pantry CEO said they will replace the driveway to decrease the steep grade and make room for parking.
Other future plans include making a community garden on the adjoining fenced-in acreage.
Mr. Taylor said the $200,000 project has been paid up to date with a $21,000 grant from St. Peter’s Catholic Church, a $20,000 grant from the Northern New York Community Foundation and $20,000 from Pratt Northam, combined with the pantry’s capital fund and private donations. The pre-fabricated building kit for the steel structure cost about $60,000.
The pantry has a couple of fundraisers in the works to aid the building project.
There will be a garage sale at the new building from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 6 and 7 and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 8 with a bag sale.
Mr. Taylor has agreed to get his head shaved if $5,000 in donations are made by Aug. 24.
A drawing for certificates for meat and cheese from local businesses will be held Sept. 19. Tickets at a cost of $5 each or five for $20 can be bought at the food pantry, Lowville American Legion or Lowville Farmers Co-op.
A smaller building that has now been attached to the new structure will continue to be used for the Christmas Giving program utilizing the upstairs, and the downstairs will house the administrative offices and ‘back of house’ operations for the many pantry programs.
With added space, Mr. Taylor said programs such as food and cooking demonstrations will be expanded, and there will be more opportunities for BOCES students to work at the pantry.
The food pantry’s other programs include Food Sense, Santa for Seniors, Christmas Sharing, a summer backpack program and an outreach to homeless people in the county. It serves between 275 and 375 families every month.
The pantry’s mission in part is to “provide food, personal-care items, household items, clothing and any other such services as may from time to time appear needed in a charitable manner to persons and/or families who because of emergency situations are unable to meet these needs themselves or through the assistance of existing social services agencies within the community,” according to information on its website.
The food pantry rents a 2,800-square-foot building at 7646 Forest Ave. from the Lowville Farmer’s Co-op.
“This will be a big difference for us,” the CEO said. “We will own this.”
With the expansion, Mr. Taylor said, “We will better be able to serve the community — to help more who knock on our door with a need. We work with other agencies to fulfill needs.”
He noted that the outreach program utilizing the van and trailer donated by the Lowville Lions had been doing well, going to “food deserts” where there are no grocery stores within 20 miles.
“It was especially helpful to Osceola seniors who are not going out due to COVID,” he said.
For more information about the Lowville Food Pantry and its programs, to sign up for services or to make a donation, go to is website at www.lowvillefoodpantry.org.