Watervliet puts out the call for food donations

WATERVLIET – Boxes of food are going out to anyone who needs a little extra help. However, these days, they need more to put in them.

“Definitely a need for donations for our staple items: our rice, pasta, pasta sauce, some of our staples for our holiday meals,” said Redemption Church of Christ Community Outreach Coordinator Michelle Wooten.

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This started as a citywide distribution during the pandemic at the Dome.

“We just felt it was important to be in the community just to meet the need and I think that one of the misconceptions right now is that the need has gone down,” said Wooten.

The cost of food overall is up 11.4% over the past year in the largest annual increase in 23 years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Grocery prices are up 13.5%.

Longtime volunteer Becky Williams sees the need.

“I’ve seen it go up,” she said. “We have a lot of new people every week that we see come through, so we do have more need coming in and it’s been so hard to get supplies, but we hand out what we have.”

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Thanksgiving is around the corner.

“Turkeys are expensive, very expensive, and I don’t think we’re going to get them this year to hand out. We have in the past, but we’re just trying to fill the need, so we’re adding more to the boxes that we have,” said Williams.

Students from Redemption Christian Academy in Troy come twice a month to unload the truck and pack up boxes that are handed out the first and third Thursdays of the month.

The pantry also does hot meals for 300 people, mostly deliveries to the elderly and homebound.

“I can see that the need– I was hoping that the need was going to be going down as we came out of the pandemic, but it doesn’t seem to be going that way,” said Watervliet Mayor Charles Patricelli. “Just watching the news, with the rate of inflation, unemployment, everything seems to be going in the direction that says people still need help. That’s what I’m worried about.”

The mayor recently got a 2 a.m. text for help.

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“I think she was very desperate and this group here the very next day responded with boxes of food for her and was able to help her immediately,” he said. “I think it’s indicative of people saying there’s a need out there and I’m glad to be able to say we’re here to help them.”

The mayor says people can drop off donations of rice, pasta, or sauce – or any non-perishables – at the Watervliet library, or call Redemption Church of Christ in Watervliet at (518) 272-7848 to make arrangements.