NEW BERLIN – The Unadilla Food Pantry, located at the Methodist Church in New Berlin, is preparing to expand the food bank as well as offer new services to its clients through a partnership with Regional Food Bank Of Central (RFBCNY) New York in Syracuse.
"Our application has been provisionally accepted, we expect that we will be accepted as a partner before November," said the Unadilla Food Pantry Director Jeanne Westcott.
According to Westcott the partnership with the regional food bank has several benefits. There are two food programs for the food bank to utilize. One is through the United States Department of Agriculture that provides food free of charge. The second is the Emergency Food Program where food can be purchased at a reduced rate and will provide the food bank with a larger variety of food.
Food is not the only benefit that the program offers.
"The regional food bank has a lot of resources and nutrition education programs that our clients and volunteers can take advantage of," said Westcott. "There are county meetings where you get to talk to other food bank coordinators in the county and find out what they're doing, get ideas, that sort of thing."
Westcott explained that the food bank started the process of partnering with RFBCNY when they thought people would be losing food stamp benefits.
"Prior to the pandemic there was a lot of discussion in the news that they were going to go through the food stamp program and a lot of people where going to lose food stamps. That concerned a lot of us that were involved in food banks because a lot of people use the food stamps and their resources and they get along okay. But when you disrupt that balance in anyway, they're not okay. I was really concerned about the fact that we could see so many more people coming to the food bank," said Westcott.
Prior to the partnership with RFBCNY the Unadilla Food Bank operated independently.