CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. — A longtime food pantry based in the Hamlet of Jonesville has reopened its doors to once more serve those in need of a little help with food supplies.

The Shenendehowa Helping Hands Food Pantry, 963 Main Street, Jonesville (the annex of the Jonesville United Methodist Church) reopened June 19.

The all-volunteer team was forced to temporarily stop the food pantry’s normal twice a week food distribution in March because many of those who stock the shelves and oversee the distribution are in the high risk pool of people susceptible to the COVID-19 coronavirus. Now the pantry is back with a reduced staff of volunteers and following all public health guidelines.

“We wear masks and we ask that our clients do the same,” said volunteer Sheila Krupski. “Social distancing is requested.”

The pantry is now open on Fridays only, from 9 a.m. to noon. Due to the coronavirus, staff members greet clients at table placed outside the annex under the sheltered entrance. Once they are given the client’s list of requested items staff members go back to the supply shelves inside the annex to fill it.

Once collected, the requested food items are placed on the table along with an additional box containing perishable food items like daily products, bread, produce, frozen meat or fish and a few non-perishable items. 

“People hear about us from a wide array of sources,” Krupski said. “We serve people who live in the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake School District and the Shenendehowa School District. However, we do not turn people away. If they don’t live in those school districts we supply them with food that first time they come in and we direct them to agencies that can help them where they live.”

The pantry has a list of approximately 200 people. A one-person household is allowed to come to the pantry once a month. Households with two or more can come twice a month.

One damaging aspect of the pandemic, in addition to the pantry’s temporary closure, was the cancellation of the U.S. Post Office Food Drive in May. However, Krupski said that despite being closed the pantry continued to receive food donations from individual families and local churches like St. Edward the Confessor and Corpus Christi Catholic Church.

In addition to the donations of food from the churches and the individual families, the pantry received 40 large gags of non-perishable food items from the Deanna Marie Rivers Foundation. 

As pantry volunteers realized they had enough bodies to reopen, they began sending volunteer drivers back to the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York to begin restocking pantry shelves. There are still a few items however, that remain in short supply on the shelves.

Toilet paper, paper towels, canned tomato products, canned vegetables, boxed or bagged rice, canned fruit, crackers, cake mixes, brownie mixes, cookies, and tooth paste are a few of the items pantry staff would like to have on hand in greater supply.

Any individual, family or organization wishing to make donations can bring them directly to the food pantry on Thursday mornings between 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. when the volunteers are getting and sorting supplies from the Regional Food Bank orders or on Fridays between 9:00 a.m. and noon.

For more information on the Shenendehowa Helping Hands Food Pantry call: 518-877-7380.

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