Friday, the United Way of Northern New York is collecting non-perishable items for their annual food drive. Our Amanda Kelley tells more about the importance of this drive and how much it means to food pantries in Jefferson County.
WATERTOWN, N.Y. -- The United Way is looking to help stock the shelves of local food pantries. Their annual food drive will take place Friday.
"We will collect over, with the help of the community, over 100,000 non-perishable food items. And they'll be distributed to 17 food pantries throughout the county this Friday afternoon," said United Way CPO Jayne Graves.
This food drive will help hundreds of North Country residents put food on their tables. The need only continues to exist, no matter what the season.
"It is safe to say that hundreds of families a day really depend on these food pantries. And as we have increased need, the food pantries struggle with the supplies so that they are all able to give a few days' supply to each family," Graves said.
The Urban Mission of Watertown is just one of the 17 pantries that will benefit from this food drive. They say without food pantries, they don't know where many of these people would turn.
"Well, when you see them cry, you know you've done a good thing. I mean, it's such a hard thing to come and ask for deodorant and toilet paper and things like that. Those are things that people just don't have," said Anita Ciulo, Urban Mission of Watertown Food Pantry Coordinator.
Besides the staples, food pantries are in need of personal items, such as toilet paper, toothpaste and Kleenex. They also say pet food is in high demand.
After this past summer, many pantries are completely wiped out.
"It always goes up and down. Summer's always very busy and we just finished an August that was 588 families I think, because in the summertime families have to feed their children all their meals," said Urban Mission of Watertown Executive Director Mary Morgan.
If you are unable to donate food items during the food drive Friday here at the Best Western from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., you can still help. The United Way will accept donations at their office downtown.