CROGHAN – To allow for more food opportunities, the Croghan Food Pantry is affiliated with the Lowville Food Pantry.
There have been food kitchens in Croghan for 30 years, started by Ellen “Kee” Proulx in the basement of St. Church. Stephen. The Pantry comes under the Lewis County Opportunities umbrella because of its non-profit status that allows ordering from the Central New York Food Pantry. Five years ago, the kitchen moved to a larger room in the basement of the Croghan Free Library, 9794 Route 812. In 2017, Mrs. Proulx’s daughter, Linda Kloster took over the operation.
Mrs Kloster said she had considered applying for non-profit status for the pantry on her own behalf, but after speaking with Daniel Taylor, director of the Lowville Food Pantry, she decided to become affiliated with them.
“They have more access to food than other outlets,” explained Mrs. Kloster, noted several large food stores donating to the pantry.
Through affiliation with the Lowville Food Pantry, the director of the Croatian food kitchen is able to obtain fruit, vegetables, bread and baby items free of charge.
“It saves a lot of money on those items,” he said.
Croghan Food Pantry caters to eligible individuals and families in the Beaver River School District. According to Mrs. Kloster, the kitchen provides meals for 35 to 50 families every month, an average of 43 families per month, including 15 residents of Steepleview Court, senior housing.
“We have seen an increase this year in families with children and elderly citizens,” said the director. “Last year we averaged 26 children per month and so far this year averaged 33. Last year we averaged 19 elderly and this year 22.”
He points out that there are new clients but also some former clients who because of the increased benefits of SNAP no longer need the service.
The food kitchen is open every Wednesday by making an appointment by calling 845-661-3659, sending an email [email protected] or via Facebook https://www.facebook.com/croghanfoodpantry/. The client must meet the income cap – for a family of four, annual income must be less than $ 52,400 or $ 4,367 per month. Consideration is also taken for those facing emergency situations such as medical bills or loss of work. At this time the client may enter the pantry but must wear a mask and gloves along with the measured temperature. The client receives food for five days each month.
Mrs Kloster says people have helped the kitchen. Kylie Simpson came up with a plan to not only help the kitchen but help the local grocery market as well. Ms. Simpson suggests people donate funds to enable clients to buy milk and eggs from Monnat’s Country Store.
Mrs Kloster liked the idea and added bread to the list. With the funds donated, he gives vouchers to clients to use in the shop for the number of food items depending on the size of the family.
In preparation for returning to school in August, the food pantry asks the names of children, grade level and teachers of each of our clients who wish to participate.
“We have generous donors who donate Walmart gift cards to use to buy school supplies for all the children, around 19 students,” said Mrs. Kloster.
Currently, the food pantry is collecting donations of personal care items to distribute to clients in December. Donations of shampoo, conditioner, hair products, soaps, combs, hairbrushes, feminine products, soaps, deodorants, toothpaste and brushes are welcome.
The pantry director said since the pandemic began, the donation of food and household utensils had fallen. He said donated food was set aside for a certain period of time before being stored as a precaution against transmission of the virus and safety precautions were put in place for clients visiting kitchens.
Kloster’s mother said she was grateful to her volunteer team.
“I couldn’t do this without lots of great volunteers I can call on to help unload the truck, help with deliveries to Steepleview or help out in the kitchen if I can’t be here.”