ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The world is wide open again post pandemic, but the need is not shrinking for local food pantries. A group of Capital Region providers coming together Wednesday explaining as inflation has gone up and federal assistance has wound down, they’re struggling to keep shelves stocked.

“We are getting to a point right now across our region where pantries are having to turn people away because they have run out of food,” says Natasha Pernicka, the executive director of The Food Pantries for the Capital District.

The Food Pantries for the Capital District is a coalition of 70 area providers. Pernicka says when polled, 49 percent of her colleagues responded they don’t believe they’ll be able to keep up with demand in 2023 or even to the end of this year. 

“We’re open three days a week and we’d like to open one more day,” says Jill Becker, co-fonder of Bread of Life Food Pantry.

“But I don’t know if we can sustain our pantry through April this year, as we are operating,” adds Jill’s mother Judy, her fellow co-founder.

It’s the same across many charities that popped up to fill the COVID gap. Feed Albany, which mobilized restaurants to deliver meals, announced its shut down plans now that donations and volunteers have slowed to a trickle.

“Our cost to prepare meals when we first started was negligible. Now it’s 300 to 400% what it was a couple years ago and it’s hard to sustain that,” explains Founder Jason Pierce.

In the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry alone, Director Angela Warner says she orders 5,500 pounds of food every week to keep up with the 2000 people they serve. She says it’s not just food that’s in short supply.

“I think a lot of pantries struggle with getting personal care items. Paper towels, toilet paper, shampoo,” says Warner.

“Items that are not covered by SNAP and other federal assistance programs,” adds Pernicka, “like laundry detergent, toothpaste, deodorant, household cleaning products. Those items are very expensive.”

The food pantries beg if you have more, consider to giving to those with less. The members of The Food Pantries for the Capital District include:

  1. Albany Community Action Partnership Cohoes Outreach & Food Pantry
  2. Altamont Community Food Pantry
  3. Arbor Hill Community Center
  4. Bethlehem Food Pantry
  5. Blessed Sacrament Parish
  6. Cathedral Social Services
  7. Christ Our Light
  8. First Church in Albany
  9. FOCUS Interfaith Food Pantry
  10. Guilderland Food Pantry
  11. The Help Center at Capital Church
  12. Hilltowns Community Resource Center
  13. Immaculate Heart of Mary Food Pantry
  14. Mater Christi Food Pantry
  15. Metropolitan Food Pantry
  16. New Scotland Community Food Pantry
  17. Onesquethaw Reformed Church
  18. Sacred Heart Outreach
  19. St. Ambrose
  20. St. Clare’s Food Pantry
  21. St. James Food Pantry
  22. St. John’s/St. Ann’s Center
  23. St. Mary’s Outreach
  24. St. Vincent’s Food Pantry
  25. Salvation Army – Albany Food Pantry
  26. Salvation Army – Cohoes Food Pantry
  27. Sister Maureen Joyce Food Pantry
  28. The Pantry @ St. Patrick’s
  29. Trinity Alliance of the Capital Region
  30. Trinity United Methodist Church Food Pantry (TUM)
  31. United Church of Cohoes
  32. Venture Churches Food Pantry

Plus additional community partners.