Rep. Tom Reed Visits Corning Community Food Pantry
Rep. Tom Reed recently visited the Corning Community Food Pantry to hear perspectives from food pantry leaders on their priorities and concerns, as well as what they hear from the thousands of residents they serve each year.
“What I heard from food pantry volunteers was a desire to include more training opportunities in social services programs to move people toward jobs that are available,” Reed said. “The goal is not for these food pantries to be something families rely on, but rather a helping hand as they get the skill sets necessary to find employment and get themselves back on sound financial ground.”
The partnership between Corning Community Food Pantry and Catholic Charities of Steuben County offers a host of services in addition to traditional food pantry services including clothing, a lending library, nutritional information, and assistance with shelter and financial planning.
“The essential services provided here to local residents go far beyond fighting hunger,” Reed said. “The Corning Community Food Pantry provides a real opportunity for the most vulnerable in our community to get the care they need and a fair shot at self-sufficiency. With prices rising on many of the things we depend on daily, our seniors are feeling the impact particularly hard, seeing their medical expenses, utilities, and grocery bills increase while at the same time seeing low returns on their retirement savings.”
Reed said in order for facilities to continue providing services for those most in need, accountability measures must be in place so that resources are being used efficiently and effectively.
“The food pantry, its dedicated volunteers, and all those who have donated strengthen families and support communities,” Reed continued. “When our neighbors are facing tough times, the entire community steps up to positively impact their lives. Whether that means food, a monetary donation, or their valuable time, the local community understands that we need to care for everyone in our community so that we can make it better."
The food pantry has seen an increase in number of residents served – from serving nearly 7,000 people in 1999 to almost 25,000 in 2012. Some of this is due to increased capacity and expansion of the food pantry, while some can be attributed to the 2008 economic downturn.