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Cayuga Community College Supports Food Pantry

FULTON, NY – The shelves at Catholic Charities of Oswego County’s client choice food pantry will be better stocked thanks to a donation from Cayuga Community College.

Cayuga Community College Supports Food Pantry

Cayuga Community College Supports Food Pantry

Students and staff from the college’s Fulton Campus presented Catholic Charities with a generous check and basket full of food to help the agency meet the increasing demand on its food pantry.

From left are: Allison Cass, Rebecca Devendorf and JoAnn Harris of Cayuga Community College, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Oswego County, Mary-Margaret Pezzella-Pekow, Ken Teramiggi of Catholic Charities and Director of Emergency Services, Helen Hoefer.

For more information of Catholic Charities food pantry, or to make a donation, call Hoefer at 598-3980, ext. 250.

Newman Center Supports Catholic Charities Food Pantry

OSWEGO, NY – Catholic Charities of Oswego County’s client choice food pantry recently received a generous donation from the Newman Center in Oswego.

People Against Poverty volunteers from the Newman Center in Oswego recently presented Catholic Charities of Oswego County with a donation in support of the agency’s food pantry.  From left are: Director of Emergency Services for Catholic Charities Helen Hoefer, Laurie Brunschweiger and Meg Quigley.

People Against Poverty volunteers from the Newman Center in Oswego recently presented Catholic Charities of Oswego County with a donation in support of the agency’s food pantry. From left are: Director of Emergency Services for Catholic Charities Helen Hoefer, Laurie Brunschweiger and Meg Quigley.

Representatives from the Newman Center collected several boxes of food from SUNY Oswego students at the end of the semester.  The food was distributed to area food pantries.

Director of Emergency Services at Catholic Charities, Helen Hoefer, was surprised to receive such a generous donation.

“We received two vans full of food that will go a long way in helping us meet the demand we are experiencing at our food pantry.  As the need for food subsidy continues to increase it is becoming difficult for us to keep our pantry shelves filled. We greatly appreciate the hard work of the Newman Center volunteers and the generosity of the SUNY Oswego students. We are fortunate to receive their support,” said Hoefer.

Catholic Charities of Oswego County serves all people in need regardless of their religious affiliation.

Primary funding sources for Catholic Charities of Oswego County programs are the United Way of Greater Oswego County, the Diocesan Hope Appeal, the County of Oswego, NYS Office of Children and Family Services through Oswego City/County Youth Bureau and private donations by individuals and local companies and organizations.

Wal-Mart Aids Catholic Charities Food Pantry

Wal-Mart supports food pantry

Wal-Mart supports food pantry

FULTON, NY – Angela Blanchard (left) of the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Fulton presents executive director of Catholic Charities of Oswego County, Mary-Margaret Pezzella-Pekow with a check for $250 in support of the agency’s food pantry.

The donation will help re-stock the pantry’s shelves after a busy holiday season.

Catholic Charities’ food pantry serves families throughout Oswego County.

NRG Supports Catholic Charities Food Pantry

OSWEGO, NY – The Emergency Services Program at Catholic Charities of Oswego County recently received some much needed support for its food pantry recently when NRG’s Charitable Giving Committee presented the agency with a check in support of the agency’s annual Thanksgiving meal distribution.

Donna Moonan (center) of NRG Energy presents Helen Hoefer, director of Catholic Charities of Oswego County’s Emergency Services Program and Executive Director, Mary-Margaret Pezzella-Pekow (right) with a check on behalf of NRG’s Charitable Giving Committee in support of the agency’s Thanksgiving meal distribution.

Donna Moonan (center) of NRG Energy presents Helen Hoefer, director of Catholic Charities of Oswego County’s Emergency Services Program and Executive Director, Mary-Margaret Pezzella-Pekow (right) with a check on behalf of NRG’s Charitable Giving Committee in support of the agency’s Thanksgiving meal distribution.

Each year, thanks in part to generous donations from caring and concerned businesses, organizations and individuals, the food pantry at Catholic Charities of Oswego County is able to feed provide hundreds of families with a meal for Thanksgiving.

“We truly appreciate the generosity of NRG and their employees,” said Coordinator of the Emergency Services Program at Catholic Charities of Oswego County, Helen Hoefer. “We received requests from more families than ever this year.  The thoughtfulness of businesses such as NRG is greatly appreciated as it allows us to continue our mission of helping families in need.”

For more information on Catholic Charities’ Emergency Services programs, call Hoefer at 598-3980.

Catholic Charities of Oswego County serves all people in need regardless of their religious affiliation.

Primary funding sources for Catholic Charities of Oswego County programs are the United Way of Greater Oswego County, the Diocesan Hope Appeal, the County of Oswego and private donations by individuals and local companies and organizations.

Car Wash To Benefit Food Pantry

FULTON, NY – On Sept. 25, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Catholic Charities of Oswego County will be holding a Car Wash to help raise funds for its food pantry and the CYO program.

All donations received during the car wash will benefit Catholic Charities’ food pantry, which served more than 15,000 people and provided more than 63,000 meals last year, and the CYO program, which offers a wide variety of recreational and educational programs for area youth including its popular mentoring program for elementary and high school students.

The car wash will be held in the parking lot outside Catholic Charities offices at 365 W. First St., next to Pizza Hut.

To help keep the cars moving and shorten the wait time, Pizza Hut will be providing two hoses so volunteers will be able to wash cars quickly and efficiently.

Oswego Youth Helps Food Pantry

FULTON, NY – When eight-year-old Mark Jones of Oswego watched American Idol Gives Back he was inspired to make a difference by giving back to his community.

Director of Catholic Charities of Oswego County’s Emergency Services Program, Helen Hoefer accepts a donation of fresh tomatoes from Mark Jones.

Director of Catholic Charities of Oswego County’s Emergency Services Program, Helen Hoefer accepts a donation of fresh tomatoes from Mark Jones.

When he heard that the food pantry at Catholic Charities of Oswego County was in need of donations to help provide food to those in need he thought this was a perfect opportunity for him to give back to his community.

With the help of his parents, Mark and Heather Jones and his younger sister, Sara, Mark planted and tended a garden with the intention of growing and donating the vegetables to Catholic Charities.

So far Mark has supplied the food pantry with cucumbers, tomatoes and even some blueberries.

“It was a pleasant surprise to have someone Mark’s age bring us a donation,” said director of Catholic Charities’ Emergency Services program, Helen Hoefer. “Over the past year we have seen a substantial increase in the demand for food subsidy in Oswego County. We are very appreciative of Mark’s donation and he is to be credited for his efforts to help our food pantry.”

The food pantry gladly accepts donations from individuals, businesses and organizations.

For more information, call Hoefer at 598-3980.

Catholic Charities Expands Hours For Food Pantry, Thrift Store

FULTON, NY – In an effort to better meet the needs of its clients, Catholic Charities of Oswego County has expanded the hours for both its Client Choice Food Pantry and the Thrift Shop.

Catholic Charities of Oswego County’s Client Choice Food Pantry and Thrift Shop, now offers expanded hours to better serve its clients. Displaying some of the many items available at the Thrift Shop are from left are: Nutrition Outreach Coordinator Angela Smith; Director of Catholic Charities’ Emergency Services program Helen Hoefer; and Program Assistant Brandi Runge.

Catholic Charities of Oswego County’s Client Choice Food Pantry and Thrift Shop, now offers expanded hours to better serve its clients. Displaying some of the many items available at the Thrift Shop are from left are: Nutrition Outreach Coordinator Angela Smith; Director of Catholic Charities’ Emergency Services program Helen Hoefer; and Program Assistant Brandi Runge.

Director of Catholic Charities’ Emergency Services Program Helen Hoefer has announced that Client Choice Food Pantry and the Thrift Shop will be open until 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“With the increased demand that we are experiencing and the amount of working families who are utilizing our services we have decided to expand our hours until 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays,” said Hoefer. “We have received a number of requests from our clients who said that it was difficult, if not impossible for them to access our food pantry and thrift shop during our regular hours. We are seeing more and more families and individuals, who are working but still need to access our services so that they have adequate food and clothing for themselves and their families. By extending our hours until 6 p.m. we are making it much easier for those people to take advantage of our Client Choice Food Pantry and our Thrift Shop so that they may be able to get the food, clothing, and other items that they need.”

Beginning Feb. 1, Catholic Charities of Oswego County’s Client Choice Food Pantry will be open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday from 1:30 – 6 p.m.

The Thrift Shop will be open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information, call Hoefer 598-3980.

Country Cruisers Supports Catholic Charities’ Food Pantry

FULTON, NY – The Country Cruisers car club of Hannibal recently presented Catholic Charities of Oswego County with a check in support of the agency’s food pantry.

The Country Cruisers made it possible for Catholic Charities of Oswego County's Emergency Services Program to assist even more families when they made a recent donation to the agency’s food pantry. From left are: Mike Abare of the Cruisers and Director of Catholic Charities’ Emergency Services Program, Helen Hoefer.

The Country Cruisers made it possible for Catholic Charities of Oswego County's Emergency Services Program to assist even more families when they made a recent donation to the agency’s food pantry. From left are: Mike Abare of the Cruisers and Director of Catholic Charities’ Emergency Services Program, Helen Hoefer.

Each year the food pantry at Catholic Charities of Oswego County feeds thousands of families distributes and hundreds of Thanksgiving and Christmas food baskets to those in need.

Mike Abare of the Cruisers said that the members of the car club are happy to support the efforts of Catholic Charities’ food pantry.

“We appreciate this generous donation to our food pantry,” said Helen Hoefer, director of the Emergency Services Program at Catholic Charities of Oswego County. “The donations we receive help us to feed as many families and individuals as possible during the holiday season. With the increased demand for food, the thoughtfulness of organizations such as the Country Cruisers is truly a blessing as it allows us to continue our mission of helping those in need.”

For more information on Catholic Charities’ Emergency Services Program, call Hoefer at 598-3980.

Motorcycle Club Supports Catholic Charities’ Food Pantry

FULTON, NY – The Oswego County Chapter of the Vicious Circle Motorcycle Club recently presented Catholic Charities of Oswego County with a check in support of the agency’s Client Choice Food Pantry.

From left are members of the Oswego County Chapter of the Vicious Circle Motorcycle Club presenting Catholic Charities executive director Mary-Margaret Pezzella-Pekow with a donation.

From left are members of the Oswego County Chapter of the Vicious Circle Motorcycle Club presenting Catholic Charities executive director Mary-Margaret Pezzella-Pekow with a donation.

The donation was a combination of contributions from the members and funds raised during the club’s bike shows and bike runs.

Each year, the food pantry at Catholic Charities of Oswego County feeds thousands of families distributes and hundreds of Thanksgiving and Christmas food baskets to those in need.

“We appreciate this generous donation to our food pantry,” said Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Oswego County, Mary-Margaret Pezzella-Pekow. “The donations we receive help us to feed as many families and individuals as possible during the holiday season. It has been a struggle to meet the increased demand for food this holiday season and the thoughtfulness of organizations such as the Vicious Circle Motorcycle Club is truly a blessing, as it allows us to continue our mission of helping those in need. I encourage those who are able to consider donating food items or children’s toys for our “Let’s Give For A Kid” program as we are receiving a large amount of requests this holiday season and we would like to help as many families as possible.”

For more information on Catholic Charities’ Client Choice Food Pantry or the “Let’s Give For A Kid” program, call Helen Hoefer at 598-3980.

New Faces, Familiar Needs: County’s Food Pantries Busier Than Ever

 

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Helen Hoefer can sum up the pace of her business in one word: “Booming”.

That’s not good news. Hoefer runs the food pantry and other emergency services for Catholic Charities of Oswego County. “Our numbers are up about 33% and I think it’s going to get a lot worse,” she said.

There are approximately 20 food pantries across the county. We spoke with officials at three of them, and the story is the same. More people need more help than ever, as unemployment hovers around 10% and another 6-7% are working, but not making enough to pay the bills.

Hannibal’s community food pantry, run by Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church, provided Thanksgiving dinners for 207 families this year, up from 168 families last Thanksgiving, according to Liz Cummins, who is the director of the church’s Resource Center.

More than 2,200 people have gotten food from the church’s food pantry so far this year. While that number is a little below last year’s food pantry usage, Cummins says the need for help has definitely increased this year.

It’s not just the unemployed, she said. It’s also the underemployed. “Everybody comes here, even if they have jobs, because nobody’s making enough money,” she said.

New Faces, New Stories

Capt. Kevin Brennan is seeing many new faces at the food pantry he runs at the Fulton Salvation Army. The group also runs a soup kitchen that serves breakfast and lunch each weekday. Last Wednesday, he said, people had to sit on freezers because all of the chairs were taken. The soup kitchen serves 80-120 people a day, twice as many people as it served last year.

The food bank, like most in the county, is allied with the Food Bank of Central New York and receives most of its pantry food from the non-profit agency. A truckload, said Brennan, “used to last 6 weeks. Now it lasts 2-3 weeks. It almost goes out as fast as it comes in.”

“We’ve had people — and this breaks my heart — if we give them meat, they give it back. Their refrigerator’s broke and they can’t keep it,” he said.

Hoefer’s program at Catholic Charities tries to get help for people whose refrigerators or stoves have broken. A state program called EmpowerNY can help in some cases, and she said there are other sources of aid.

The other surprise: People who used to donate are now coming in for help. Hoefer said those people have a hard time. “People who aren’t used to the system don’t know how to navigate it,” she said. “We tell people, ‘Go to DSS’ and they ask us, “What is DSS?'”

Donors Neeeded

Giving is not always keeping pace with the exploding need.

The Fulton Salvation Army is already $6,000 behind in its annual Red Kettle fund drive, due in part to the closing of the P&C Food Market, one of its prime fundraising spots. Brennan said that volunteers working two shifts at Walmart in Granby didn’t make up for the loss.

Cummins suggested that those who want to give can do the most by giving either money or gift cards, so staff can shop for the best bargains. Donations of non-pereishable food are always welcome, all of the food bank leaders said.

Hoefer said her agency is shopping differently, trying to take advantage of whateveer free food is available.

Find a Pantry Near You

Below is a list, taken from a list compiled by Oswego County Opportunities, of food pantries that are members of the county Food Pantry Association. There may be other food pantries.

Click the graphic to see a larger version:

A list of Oswego County food pantries.

A list of Oswego County food pantries.

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