Food insecurity and hunger isn’t just a flash in the pan, it’s an all year round problem for many.
“When there is a problem, when there is a concern, when there is a need and clearly there is here, that’s when the community comes together and forms that safety net of neighbor helping neighbor, people helping people,” said Michael Castellana, SEFCU CEO and president. “That really forms the fabric of a community so you can understand the true nature of it, and I think that’s what we are today.”
SEFCU says it’s putting up an additional $200,000 as a community match for No Neighbor Hungry. For all 30 food pantries involved, including ConSERNS-U, the need is even greater during the holiday season.
“The holiday season is busy for us in general. We are seeing a bit of uptick with people in need—especially this year with the given situation—a lot of new faces are in need and are food insecure. So, people are reaching out to us and utilizing us for helping fill in that gap for food, but also for their holiday meals and for gift assistance for their kids,” ConSERNS-U program coordinator, Jessica Zint said.
The non-profit food pantry orders and goes through roughly 3,000 pounds of food each and every week. While they can always use the extra help for the community that they feed, they tend to be low on toiletries.
“Definitely a big need because that’s not something that people can buy with food stamps,” Zint said. “We’re always looking for grains and snacks and jellies and peanut butter. And those tend to be the items that people are looking for that we sometimes run out of.”
ConSERNS-U serves around 325 households monthly and in over a year period, 12,000 individuals receive food assistance from them. Zint says any help can go a long way.
“It’s always a challenge to make sure that we have enough food and a good variety for people. We are always looking for donations and anything that we could use to help fill the shelves and to keep people fed,” Zint said.
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