Feed Albany surpasses 100,000 meals

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Food insecurity in the Capital Region affects thousands of people and families each year. Through the COVID-19 pandemic, it has only made it tougher to access food.

There are food pantries all over that look to help this issue and local non-profit just hit a huge milestone.

It all started as a small project 12 weeks ago to help hospitality workers in need during the pandemic. Throughout the past two and a half months, Feed Albany has grown well beyond to help as many people as possible.

As of Monday, they officially surpassed 100,000 meals.

Feed Albany is a volunteer group that provides roughly 7,000 meals each week, and their meal cost is just about a dollar a piece. They utilize commercial kitchens, volunteers and donated vehicles to produce, package and deliver meals in the Albany and the greater Capital Region area.  

Founder, Dominick Purnomo says without the work of volunteers, none of it would be possible as every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, they put their efforts together to feed anyone who comes.

“When we hit 10,000 meals, then 25,000 and 50,000 now 100,000, it seems surreal,” Purnomo said. “If you had told me 12 weeks ago we’d serve 100,000 meals, I would’ve thought that was completely insurmountable, but the fact that we had so many people ban together to help all those in need, there’s nothing that we can’t do.”

Through their go fund me, they’ve raised over 100,000 dollars, where 100 percent of donations are used to purchase food for preparation, packed containers as well as providing limited financial assistance to unemployed restaurant workers who volunteer their time to assist others.

For Christine O’Neill, she’s been a volunteer since the very beginning. As a teacher for Saint Pius X in Loudonville, she said she felt lost once schools were shut down, but giving back gave her hope. She rarely misses a day and says she will do anything that’s needed to help – whether it’s prepping food in the back or delivering in the front. To her, making a difference means everything.

“I think the more you give, you just want to keep doing it. I don’t want to miss a day here, because I have appointments and it’s like, ‘no I can’t do it at that time because I need to be down volunteering’ and now I come a little earlier to set things up,” O’Neill said. “It’s just in your heart, it feels really good and you know you’re making a difference.”

Purnomo said at first, he thought it would be something for the time being, but now says they’ve put themselves into a situation where they can continue their efforts to help others for a long time.

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