Linda Napier, Director of Fayetteville-Manlius Community Outreach, runs the counter at the food pantry at 122 East Seneca Street in Manlius. Thanks to the Central New York Food Bank and the success of local holiday food drives, the food pantry in Manlius is well stocked. Demand remains on the increase throughout the year.
continued Both food pantry workers said that help from the community is essential to their work and that the Central New York community has been very generous.
“We’ve always had great community support,” Stress said “The community raised its awareness and understanding that it’s a basic need, so they continue to be super generous to us.”
Along with the growing demand, the face of those using the pantries has changed as well. More working class to middle class families and seniors are coming to the food pantries.
“We service more than 140 families in Fayetteville-Manlius; that represents over 300 people,” Napier said. “We provide five days worth of food, three meals a day for each person in the family. That represents roughly around 3,800 to 4,500 meals a month that go out the door.”
Napier wants to see that number go up if necessary. She doesn’t want anyone who needs food to be turned away. She also wants pantry-goers to know the atmosphere is kept as confidential as possible.
“Whatever comes into the pantry stays in the pantry,” she said. “We keep deliveries separate from the days that the clients come in. Mondays and Thursdays are deliveries, Tuesdays Wednesdays are for clients. It’s hard for people to walk through the door. There’s pride. There’s a lot of pride.”
One group of community members who have offered significant time to the cause is children.
Napier keeps a special contributors board of their accomplishments. That includes her daughter Alyssa, now 16, who introduced her mother to the problem of hunger locally and even started a major fundraiser the pantry relies on every spring.
“In April we have an annual kids bowl for hunger,” she said. “It started seven years ago and each year these kids just floor me. Last year they raised over $5,000 — only 60 kids. The kids have a blast and all the local businesses will donate prizes for the kids as rewards for their hard work.”