Fundraiser helps food pantry feed Schenectady community

November 06, 2017 12:22 AM

SCOTIA - Don and Pat Wheeler are long-time volunteers at the Schenectady Inner City Ministry Food Pantry.

“We interview the guests when they come seeking food and we register them,” Don Wheeler said. 

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The couple also volunteers for the pantry's annual Harvest for the Pantry fundraiser at First Reformed Church of Scotia where they've been members throughout their entire 47 years of marriage.

“We like people,” Mr. Wheeler said. “So we like serving the guests that come to the pantry.”

It's a vital service.

“The food pantry's available for people to come in and get groceries to last them for three days,” said SICM Communications Coordinator Janet Mattis. “Three meals per person.”

The pantry is located on Albany Street in Schenectady. 

Organizers said the need to feed the community is growing and the fundraiser helps them continue their mission.

“People are hungry in this community and I'm so glad that our particular food pantry is helping to address that,” said SICM Food Pantry Program Director Shelly Ford. 

“People who have lost their health insurance for instance or had an illness that really wiped them out,” Mr. Wheeler said. 

“People who have lost their job,” Pat Wheeler said. 

“Lost their job,” Mr. Wheeler said. 
Each week the church also collects donations of food.

However, volunteers said it is better for people to donate money because what you pay for a box of cereal, for example, the pantry can buy an entire case with.

“We work with through the Northeast Regional Food Bank and so with any money we raise we're able to buy food at a reasonable price,” Mr. Wheeler said. 

“We've already raised over $10,000 from the honorary committee,” Mattis said. 

That was before anyone at the fundraiser showed up.

The organization hopes to meet or exceed last year's total of about 18-thousand dollars.

“There's a lot of poverty in Schenectady,” said Mr. Wheeler. “We see I would say on average 65 to 70 families a day.” 

Schenectady Inner City Ministry is made up of about 50 member churches and congregations.


Nia Hamm

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