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For the tenth anniversary of the Mobile Food Pantry, we recognized 10 key individuals and groups who helped build the program and make it what it is today. These Champions, along with countless volunteers, coordinators, host sites and donors, work tirelessly each day to tackle the issue of hunger in the Southern Tier. The Mobile Food Pantry program started out as one truck serving a few sites. Now, three trucks serve 90 sites each month! A special thank you goes out to all of these Champions!
The Potter Family and Seneca Beverage Corporation
John Potter and his family have been longtime Food Bank supporters. John donated the very first Mobile Food Pantry truck (formerly a Seneca Beverage truck) in 2007 and paid for retrofitting to make room for our pallets. We consider John the “Father of the Mobile Food Pantry” because the program couldn’t have happened without him.
The Weeks Family
Once we decided to start a Mobile Food Pantry program (inspired by the Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank), Wendell Weeks and Kim Frock Weeks and their family got on board immediately. A generous donation made in 2006 allowed us to pilot the program. Wendell and his family were also some of the first volunteers to give their time at a Mobile Food Pantry distribution.
One of the benefits of the Mobile Food Pantry program is that it allows us to distribute more fresh produce. Lewis, who works at the New York State Department of Health, understood that distributing produce directly to people in need would have a positive impact on their health, and he allowed us to use Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program (HPNAP) funding towards our first MFP truck. A decade later, HPNAP is still an important, stable source of funding for the Mobile Food Pantry program.
AARP Chapter 276
AARP members volunteer each month at senior Mobile Food Pantry distributions at the Villa Serene, Bragg and Flannery sites—all low-income senior housing facilities. Because of their dedication, more seniors in Chemung County can get the healthy, easy-to-prepare food they need.
Deposit Mobile Food Pantry Site Volunteers
Deposit is one of the farthest and smallest towns the Food Bank serves. This means access for clients and willing volunteers is limited. We’ve counted on the volunteers at the Deposit Mobile Food Pantry site for a decade. The core volunteer group has remained largely the same since 2007, and they distribute food every month, rain or shine.
The Enslow Family
Bill and Pat Enslow are the Site Coordinators at the Freeville Mobile Food Pantry, the home of our first evening distribution. Evening Mobile Food Pantries were developed to reach people who are working during the day and may not be able to come to a typical distribution, even though they still need food. Bill and Pat are champions because of their enthusiasm and willingness to manage an evening distribution and because they create an atmosphere of hospitality at their site.
Deb is the Director of Student Activities and the Student Center at Tompkins Cortland Community College, and she championed the first Mobile Food Pantry on a college campus last year. She knew that having an MFP on campus would support students, faculty and staff who struggle with hunger and food insecurity. The success of the TC3 site has allowed us to start Mobile Food Pantries on other college campuses.
Kim is the Site Coordinator at the Waverly Mobile Food Pantry, which is one of our largest sites, and a member of our MFP advisory group. She was one of our first site coordinators, and she has been innovative with improvements and efficiency of her site, including a partnership with a homeschooling network to provide volunteers at each monthly distribution.
Schuyler County Legislature
The Legislature passed a measure allowing a Mobile Food Pantry distribution to be held each month at the Human Services Complex in Montour Falls. They are champions because they understood that the site would allow families to access food and variety of services at the same time and location, making the lives of people in need easier.
While the staff at Wegmans is usually seen assisting customers, the team at the Corning Wegmans store has volunteered monthly for the past two years to provide assistance to seniors in need. Front end managers and cashiers, led by the store and customer service managers, rotate regularly to serve at two senior MFPs in Steuben County at Dayspring and Village Manor.