As the pandemic laid bare the deep-rooted economic suffering in our region, the team at AIM Independent Living Center in Corning partnered with the Food Bank to launch their Community Nutrition Program. Led by Nick Moffe, Director of Peer Support Services, and Andy Zick, Program Coordinator, AIM delivers food and essential goods to neighbors in need throughout Steuben, Chemung, and Schuyler Counties. This delivery service is a lifeline for underserved populations, including seniors and people with disabilities, as well as families with young children living in rural areas with transportation hardships.
“I’m grateful to have such a great service you provide with the food pantry and delivering the food right to my door … when you’re on a fixed income it’s nice to know you don’t have to choose between medicine or food,” a client recently shared with Andy.
“Covid, more than anything, ripped the band-aid off of shame and removed some of the stigma of needing help,” Andy adds. His life changed in the pandemic, too, when he was laid off from his job managing a golf course. He realized it was an opportunity to follow his longtime hope of working in a helping profession, and he set out to join the AIM team. “I hear clients’ gratitude on the phone when they call in their orders. We are committed to client choice, and sometimes I’m chatting with someone for an hour about their nutrition needs and preferences. That human connection means so much to all of us.”
In addition to providing phone and online ordering, Andy and Nick have been busy developing partnerships with area grocers to explore additional order-ahead options to further expand compassionate, judgment-free food support for anyone who needs it.
“Innovative approaches to ending hunger are needed now more than ever,” says Sarah Keenan, the Food Bank’s Programs & Partnerships Coordinator for Steuben and Schuyler Counties. “Building healthy communities is not only about providing food but also about addressing barriers to accessing help, like the folks at AIM have done so wonderfully.”