BINGHAMTON, NY – The 2 food pantries operated by Catholic Charities of Broome County are seeing increased traffic this year and that’s before experiencing the impacts of reduced government benefits.
Catholic Charities operates one pantry here at 100 Main Street in Binghamton and another, dubbed Mother Teresa’s Cupboard, located on Garfield Avenue in Endicott inside the former Saint Ambrose School.
Manager Vanessa Friebel says last year, the pantries served 2 thousand seniors and 11 thousand children.
This year, those numbers have risen to 3 thousand seniors and 13 thousand kids through just August.
Friebel says the pandemic has caused a big increase in need among the working poor.
“Families who are not benefiting from some of the additional supplemental income that came through SNAP or through unemployment. They’re the ones that are finding it be really a stigma to come to pantries. So, we’re hearing that a lot. We’re trying to increase knowledge about what pantries can be used for,” says Friebel.
Friebel says the pantries are not only for those facing an acute hardship, they’re meant to supplement food for families having a hard time paying their other bills.
Catholic Charities stocks its pantries with supplies from the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, some state funding and donations from individuals and local Catholic parishes.
You must have a referral to access the food, toiletries and baby supplies offered at the pantries.
For more information, go to CatholicCharitiesBC.org.