ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Since the pandemic began, food pantry workers and volunteers have been in direct contact with the public, risking their own health. After the holidays, four Capital Region food pantries had to close because of COVID-19 cases. They are now pushing for all workers, who are mostly volunteers, to get vaccinated.

Natasha Pernicka, the Executive Director of the Food Pantries for the Capital District says they initially received guidance from the New York State vaccination hotline saying that food pantry workers were eligible as public-facing grocery workers in the 1b classification.

However, the Governor’s Office later stated that is not the case. The group is now urging Governor Cuomo to place them back in 1b.

“We need to show the food pantry workers and volunteers their value by including them in a category that’s essential. We can’t wait for food pantry workers with the regular population,” Pernicka said.

If you could use some assistance with food, contact the Food Pantries of the Capital Region at (518) 458-1167 and they will connect you to one of the 65 pantries in our area.