The Town of Montgomery Food Pantry has held strong through the COVID-19 pandemic.
They know where to find food when they are short on an item.
“We get spot shortages when we can’t find a certain item...,” said Peter Sullivan, treasurer of the Town of Montgomery Food Pantry. “We can get food from Cornwall [Food Bank of the Hudson Valley] and from the food bank in Latham [Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York].”
Each food bank delivers goods to a site in Goshen once a month. The Montgomery Food Pantry can order food from either place and pick it up at the site.
The only food that the pantry is currently out of is frozen ravioli. According to Volunteer Doug Hantusch, the pantry needs about 15-20 cases of this item. At times, they have been without cereal, coffee, frozen potatoes and chicken. The pantry has had to make substitutions when they could not get certain food items from other sources.
“We’re having trouble getting a consistent supply of food from the food banks,” Sullivan said. “Each of the last two times I’ve put in an order, at least 13 of the items that I wanted to order weren’t there. So we made substitutions.”
Sullivan is concerned about the future availability of meat.
Several meat processing plants have closed due to COVID-19. Several retailers such as Costco have set limits on the amount of beef, pork and chicken that each customer can buy. The shortage of meat has caused the price of beef to rise exponentially.
Although this has been a demanding time for the food pantry, Hantusch, a volunteer for the last 13-14 years, noted that they are surging on while complying with social distancing regulations.
“There has been quite an influx of need from people in the area...,” he said. “It’s been a little bit taxing but we’re providing the service that we set out to do even though there’s more and more people looking for food. And at the same time we’re trying to maintain social distancing from our clients so we have set up a drive-thru system.”
Those interested in helping the Montgomery Food Pantry can mail money to PO Box 423 Montgomery, NY 12549. Food donations can be dropped off at the pantry during operational hours or at the Montgomery Post Office. The pantry is open from 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesday and from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday. Any food is welcome, however the pantry could always use more peanut butter, macaroni and cheese, canned fruit and canned soup.
The pantry has received a lot of help from the community during this trying time. The Town of Montgomery Community Response Team has given them additional volunteers, connected the pantry with people wanting to donate food, provided them with masks, gloves and hand sanitizer. The Response Team also organized the community to donate over 500 boxes of cereal when the pantry was out. The Town Board also changed their rental fee from $250 a month to $1 a year from July 1-Dec. 31.
The pantry has garnered plenty of monetary donations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are very grateful for the monetary donations we are receiving,” Sullivan said. “Judy Gridley, our board president, processes them all and sends out a thank you for each one.”
Hantusch added that he is proud of everyone who volunteers at the food pantry.
“We have a great group who volunteer at the Town of Montgomery Food Pantry…,” he said. “There’s nobody there that isn’t valuable.”