SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — What started as a conversation about the concern of food insecurity within communities became the volunteer initiative “Schenectady Shares.” The initiative’s original goals were blown out of the water this year thanks to generous community members.

Schenectady Shares had the original goal of 15,000 pounds of food and personal hygiene products along with raising $15,000 in its post-holiday food drive. The initiative surpassed its goals, collecting 20,767 pounds of food and personal hygiene items and $20,373. The resources were distributed to 20 food pantries in Schenectady County and are expected to provide 11,000 people with three meals for three days.

Carmel Patrick, Chairperson comments, “In only five weeks, our Schenectady Shares volunteer team achieved far more than we expected,” “Through restocking food pantries and providing food for hundreds of Schenectady County families, we learned just how dire the need is. That knowledge has motivated us to find new ways to help.” Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy adds, “This is yet another example of volunteers meeting the needs of our community through Schenectady Shares.  As a community, we have always taken care of each other and will continue to do so.”