Local food pantries have seen a rise in usage since business closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have left many people unemployed. There are 18 food pantries and drives spread across Delaware County that offer food assistance to residents of their respective towns.
The New York Times reported that the U.S. unemployment rate is approximately 13% as of April 3. This was the result of nonessential businesses being closed by many states, including New York, to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Food assistance resources can be found in most towns in the county, including Andes, Bloomville, Colchester, Davenport, Delhi, Deposit, East Branch, Grand Gorge, Hamden, Hancock, Kortright, Margaretville, Masonville, Roxbury, Sidney, Sidney Center and Walton. Many food pantries are offering home delivery when possible and people are encouraged to call to see if delivery is an option for them.
Food pantry workers from several locations reported that they are currently seeing more people seeking food assistance than before nonessential businesses closed. One of these workers is Dan Underwood of the Roxbury Food Pantry who said they have had to take measures to ensure the safety of volunteers and clients. “Everybody wears a mask, we wear gloves and we try to maintain the proper distance from each other,” Underwood said. “Also, I will only allow two to three people at the same time.”
Other locations including the Sidney Food Pantry and the Colchester Food Pantry said they have not seen an increase in clients as a result of the raised unemployment rate.
Toni Vessey of the Colchester location said she does not know whether this is good or bad. “I have not experienced any increase in the number of people coming,” Vessey said. “I don’t know if people don’t have a need or sometimes, I think they’re just embarrassed to come or to call.”
Town food pantries encourage people to use the food pantry in their town to ensure that the pantries have enough resources for their residents.
Andes Food Pantry: 70 Delaware Avenue, Andes, Open Tuesday 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Friday 5 to 7 p.m. Contact 845-676-4753 or 845-676-3747;
Colchester Food Pantry: Main Street, Downsville, Open Wednesday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or by appointment. Contact 607-363-7363.
Davenport Food Pantry: 11790 New York 23, Davenport Center, Open third Friday of the month, 5 to 8 p.m. and third Saturday of the month 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Delhi Food Pantry: Courthouse Square, Delhi, Open Mondays and Thursdays 1 to 3 p.m. Contact 607-746-1670 or 607-746-1685.
Deposit Food Pantry: 91 Second Street, Deposit, Open Thursday 3 to 6 p.m. Contact 607-727-3266.
East Branch Food Pantry: 120 Fish Road, East Branch, Open Thursday 1 to 3 p.m. or by appointment. Contact 607-363-7751.
Grand Gorge Food Pantry: 37264 State Highway 23 Grand Gorge, Open first and third Friday of the month 2 to 4:30 p.m. Contact 607-214-4055 or 607-588-6954. Delaware Opportunities Food Bank: 35430 State Highway 10, Hamden, Open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Closed 12 noon to 1 p.m. for lunch. Contact 607-746-1685.
Hancock Food Pantry: 346 West Main Street, Hancock, Open Tuesday 1 to 3 p.m. Contact 607-222-2908 or 607-637-2571.
Kortright Food Pantry: North Kortright Church Road, Harpersfield, Hours are as needed, delivery is available. Contact 607-652-4006 or 607-435-0604.
Margaretville Food Pantry: 42838 State Highway 28, Suite 2. Margaretville, Open Monday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Friday 4 to 6 p.m. Contact 845-586-3992.
Masonville Food Pantry: NY 8 And NY 206 Masonville, Open the first Friday of the month 1 to 3 p.m., Contact 607-265-9265 or 607-265-3793.
Roxbury Food Pantry: 53765 State Highway 30 Roxbury, Open Tuesday 4 to 6 p.m., Contact 607-326-7174 or 607-326-7774.
Sidney Center Food Pantry: 10593 county Highway 23, Sidney Center, Hours are as needed. Contact 607-369-7597.
Sidney Food Pantry: 12 Liberty Street, Sidney, Open Monday and Thursday 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and the last Thursday of the month from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Contact 607-843-8381.
Walton Food Pantry: 55 East Street, Walton, Open 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Contact 607- 222-0105.
St. Paul’s Church Food Pantry: 464 River Street, Bloomville, Open Wednesdays 1 - 4 p.m.
Stamford Sacred Heart Food Pantry: Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, 27 Harper Street, Stamford, Open every other Thursday 10 to 11 a.m. or by appointment. Contact 607-652-7170.