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Food pantry/school join forces to erase hunger

Food pantry/school join forces to erase hunger Food pantry/school join forces to erase hunger

The pop-up food pantry is still going strong in Cornell, which has distributed more than 11,000 pounds of food since schools were closed in March. Each Thursday, people in the community have utilized the pop-up event in a drive-thru manner, with food distributed at the high school’s Eighth Street entrance.

However, the pop-up pantry will only be held until May 28.

“Then, we will transition to the food pantry parking lot,” said Ann Sonderegger, Cornell Food Pantry director.

After May 28, food distribution will take place during the normal pantry hours, from 4-7 p.m., Tuesdays. The service will be curbside pick-up only, with people instructed to remain in their cars.

Volunteers wearing masks and gloves will place food items in the trunks or backs of trucks. To ensure no contact takes place, people are asked to clear a space in their trunk for the items.

“People have been very patient,” said Sonderegger, who added that lines for distribution have gotten long at times during the pop-up events. “It’s really worked out well.”

So far, since the pop-up pantry started, 391 households have been served, consisting of 1,200 individuals, with 486 of those kids.

“We did reach a good number of kids,” said Sonderegger.

Kids are not the only ones welcome at the pop-up pantry, as senior citizens are also encouraged to visit the drive-thru, regardless of income status, in the event they haven’t been able to get somewhere to shop or are concerned about going out during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These are extraordinary times,” said Sonderegger.

In addition to meat and vegetables, the pantry has been able to supplement commodities from the Cornell School District. As part of each pop-up pantry, the school has purchased 100 gallons of milk to give away, as well as 100 loaves of bread and 100 pounds of cheese.

They’ve also thrown in things kids are fond of, such as chicken nuggets and French toast sticks.

“We’ve been able to put lots of fun food along with our food,” said Sonderegger.

Sonderegger says the pantry has received so much support after the need came for the extra food, that she is floored by the generosity.

“The community support has been extraordinary,” said Sonderegger.

As thanks for the Cornell Food Pantry’s efforts in providing much needed items to the community, an anonymous person left a sign outside the pantry, expressing gratefulness to the volunteers.

Photo by Ginna Young