For many families in Northern New York, hunger is not seasonal.

Food insecurity is a constant problem. Helping individuals maintain a sufficient supply of meat, fruit and vegetables strains the resources of local organizations dedicated to addressing this concern.

The Village Ecumenical Ministries Food Pantry, 495 S. Washington St. in Carthage, asks north country residents at this time of year to help it meet a set amount of donations of money, food and personal care items. The 2020 Community Challenge has a goal of $22,000. The campaign will continue through April 30.

“We had the equivalent of over 100,000 meals out of our pantry in 2019 and anticipate even more this year,” challenge coordinator Jody C. Mono said in a story published Feb. 24 by the Watertown Daily Times. “The food bank is requiring all food pantries to be choice. It is based on serving size, family size, based on food groups they have the choice of fresh, frozen or canned for fruits and vegetables — based on what is in stock. Meat, dairy or canned or any mixture up to the points allowed for family size for most groups. It has been quite the process but we believe it is working very well for our community. I would love to encourage people to donate frozen or fresh when donating as they are healthier choices and most people want healthier choices today.”

Families are eligible to receive assistance by the Village Ecumenical Ministries Food Pantry if they live within the boundaries of the Carthage Central School District. The amount of food they’ll be given is based on family size.

Mrs. Mono suggested that individuals, businesses or organizations can host fundraising activities. Donations also can be made in honor of a specific person, she said.

“Over the past year, several groups and organization have stepped up to aid the food pantry,” the story reported. “After learning of the challenges faced by the Village Ecumenical Ministries to ensure there is enough food and gifts to for the annual Christmas giveaway, Amanda Powell, an accountant for CEM Machine, put out a challenge to businesses and individuals to donate. … That effort raised $147 through the breakroom change collection and Ms. Powell’s challenge to her friends and family raised $1,040.”

The article listed other efforts undertaken to benefit the Village Ecumenical Ministries Food Pantry. It also featured upcoming events to help with this year’s challenge.

On weekend dates yet to be determined, orange Kinney Drugs bags will be distributed door to door to be filled with necessary items; the bags will be collected the following week. Volunteers are needed for the Orange Bags of Hope campaign on these two Saturdays.

Carthage Savings and Loan, 313 State St., will host a bake sale from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday. Residents are asked to contribute baked goods.

“Those wishing to take up the challenge, can drop off donations of food, personal care items or money at the food pantry during its operational hours, or if a large amount of food items is involved pick up can be arranged,” according to the article. “Checks with the notation ‘Community Challenge’ can be mailed to Village Ecumenical Ministries. The food pantry is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays and Fridays; 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; and 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays.”

Call 315-493-1341 for more information about hosting a fundraiser or making a donation. Visit the group’s website at www.carthagefoodpantry.org or its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/vemcarthagefoodpantry.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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