The money collected is used to purchase food products at a deep discount from the Food Bank of Central New York. "One dollar of donation money buys us approximately ten to twelve dollars worth of food from the food bank," explains Germain. "Some foods, though not many, are actually offered for free."
Patronage of the Marcellus food pantry is anonymous, though once a year patrons are asked to complete a "sign-in," which helps to confirm conditions of aid such as residence in Marcellus. The sign-in is the only prerequisite, and people are welcomed into the food pantry once a week on Tuesdays. The pantry offers a "client's choice" food selection process and provides patrons with as many as nine meals for the entire week. According to the 2007 annual report from the pantry, this system has become a model for similar establishments throughout the state.
Many food bank patrons appear regularly each week, while some come every other week. Need for donations rises during holiday seasons, as there are a number of people who ask for aid only on major holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.
"The Marcellus community has been very generous to the food pantry," observes Germain. She adds that some members of the community have found creative ways to raise money for the charity. One Marcellus high school student organized a benefit for the food pantry as her senior project. She raised $1000, which she presented to the food pantry, along with a collection of toiletries that were also donated. "We are not allowed to buy anything but food with donation money," explains Germain, adding that often food recipients need personal hygiene products as well.
The food pantry accepts monetary or food donations from individuals or businesses. To arrange a donation, call the Marcellus First Presbyterian Church at 673-2201 or 673-2321.
Marcellus Ecumenical Food Pantry
First Presbyterian Church
Corner Main & North Streets
Marcellus, NY 13108