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Despite troubled times, J-E food pantry thrives

Food pantries across the country are struggling to provide needy families with food in the face of harsh economic times and the holidays - but shelves at the Jordan-Elbridge Ecumenical Food Pantry are far from bare.

Pantry Coordinator Joan Scott said despite the financial woes plaguing the nation, food and monetary donations to the pantry are on the rise.

"It's wonderful," Scott said. "The local people here have been most generous."

Scott said she and the other pantry volunteers had braced themselves for a drop in donations, but just the opposite has happened.

What's more is that all donations to the pantry are local, Scott pointed out. The organization does not receive supplemental donations from outside sources like the Food Bank; all monetary and food or supply donations are from community members, like local farmers who often donate surplus crops in the summer time. Some people who receive food from the pantry even take the time to volunteer and give back to the group that helped them.

Scott said the pantry provided more than 90 families with food for Thanksgiving, only a few more than last year. But volunteers expect the need to be greater for Christmas than in years past.

"I can't get over the generosity of people in this village - it is amazing," volunteer Kathy Bagley beamed.

Scott replied simply, "amen."

One of the biggest problems they face is the difficulty people often find asking for help, especially for the first time. Volunteers recognize that for many people, particularly those who have not previously needed to utilize the pantry, find it tough to ask for help.

Volunteers take the anonymity of community members who need help from the pantry very seriously, and relay that to the various organizations who help out, like high school sports teams and scout troops.

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