CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. —  With the summer season gone, the Shenendehowa Helping Hands Food Pantry will abandon its curbside service and move back indoors where volunteers will serve clients inside the annex of the Jonesville United Methodist Church, 963 Main Street, Jonesville.

The move will take place Sept. 18.  The pantry is available to residents of the Shenendehowa and Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake school districts. It is open one day a week, from 9 a.m. to noon each Friday.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic the food pantry shut its doors this spring only to reopen in June using a health-department-approved curbside pickup service. To accommodate the restrictions, the all-volunteer pantry would prepare boxes of staples for each client and allow them to select perishables from a form that was filled out while they waited in their car at curbside. The effort was functional but left the volunteers with an empty feeling.

“We’ve always been a client choice food pantry,” said volunteer Sheila Krupski. “Our clients were always able to come in and make selections themselves from our stockroom for the meals they were planning. Using the pre-packaged boxes got us open but something was definitely missing for us.”

Moving back inside the annex means that clients will be able to choose non-perishable foods, cleaning products and personal hygiene items from the pantry shelves. They may also place an order for a wide selection of dairy products, bread, fresh produce and frozen meats or seafood. These items will be packaged and delivered to clients as they leave the pantry area.

The move inside will come with now-familiar health precautions. Clients will have their temperature checked before entering the annex and masks will be required. Gloves are highly suggested. Where two or three people at a time used to make their selections in the pantry, the numbers have been set at one client and one volunteer helper at a time.

“We’ve reorganized and streamlined our pantry operations to allow clients to move through the pantry more quickly and to easily practice social distancing,” Krupski said.

As part of the streamlining items that are needed by families but not necessarily food items have been moved to the church annex area where there is more space for social distancing.

“Things like Huggies that require someone to know the correct size have been moved out of the pantry area to help quicken the pace,” Krupski said.

The pantry is located at the Jonesville United Methodist Church at 963 Main St, Clifton Park, NY. For more information call them at 518-877-7380. The pantry can be reached by email also at: shenhelpinghands@gmail.com.

Non-perishable donations are very welcome and may be dropped off at the church on Thursday mornings.

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