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Food Bank continues to see high levels of need after expansion


The Food Bank of Central New York is continuing to see high levels of need.

In the first six months of their fiscal year, the Food Bank of Central New York handed out 11,232,000 pounds of food, according to Executive Director Karen Belcher. She said as some COVID-19 relief benefits have run out, there has been an increased need.

“There’s definitely been that correlation of the benefits that were available during the pandemic, now they are gone, families are in need, and so they are reaching out to that emergency food network for help,” Belcher said.

Belcher said she’s hopeful the Food Bank’s recent expansion will be able to draw more food in.

She says the Food Bank plans to roll out a new food locker program that will be able to serve more rural residents. The program will allow rural residents to access food directly from the Food Bank in a local locker once a month.

“We are going to be able to say ‘ok these lockers are here, once a month you’ll be able to get food through this locker, directly through us,’” Belcher said. “Then they will just go at a time that is convenient for them and they’ll get a code to unlock the lockers and those lockers will pop open and that food will be available.”

Belcher said the lockers will be able to provide all components for a healthy meal.

“We are able to ambient temperature the column so we can have a dry column, a frozen column, a refrigerated column, so they’re going to get lean protein, fresh produce and canned goods that they need to make meals for their families,” Belcher said.

Belcher said the first locker will hopefully be available in the next two months.

Abigail is a temporary WRVO News Reporter/Producer working on regional and digital news stories. She graduated from SUNY Oswego in 2022 where she studied English and Public Relations. Abigail enjoys reading, writing, exploring CNY and spending time with family and friends. Abigail first joined the WRVO team as a student reporter in June 2022.