Children's outreach benefits F-M Food Pantry

A nickel and dime flea market put on by first- through fourth-graders raised enough money to buy a total of 72 jars of peanut butter and jelly for the Fayetteville-Manlius Food Pantry. The special flea market, part of the Summer Playground Program sponsored by the Village of Manlius Recreation Department, allowed the children to shop for items that each child brought from home, including puzzles, stuffed animals and books.

"We didn't open it up to the public," said Helene McCarthy, program director. "We just did it amongst ourselves."

After all was said and done, the kids raised $122.45. They took that money and as a group walked down to the P&C Grocery Store in Manlius to buy 36 jars each of the food that serves as a staple in many households.

About 125 families per month find the need to frequent the food pantry, said staff volunteer Lois Vitale, adding that that number equates to more than 400 people. Vitale gave a brief talk to the children July 25 when the group handed over the bags of food to donate. The purpose of her presentation was to help the kids understand the difference they can make by sharing with the community. Vitale said she hoped her words would be inspirational.

"I hope they will understand how important it is to share and care," she said. "In a manner, not how much they give but [rather] it's the thought behind it -- that they really want to help each other."

Fourth-grader Caroline Gaglione got the message.

"I thought it was cool because we got to help a lot of people," she said about their team's accomplishment. She also mentioned how fun it was to shop for the food.

The F-M Food Pantry became incorporated July 1, which means it gives the not-for-profit organization much more flexibility in finding funds to help it survive.

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