Salvation Army Helping Hands Food Pantry opens

ST. JOHNSVILLE — A new food pantry has opened for residents of the western part of Montgomery County and southern part of Fulton County. The Helping Hands Food pantry is a partnership with The Salvation Army Western Montgomery County Service Unit and the Oppenheim-Ephratah St. Johnsville Central School District, according to a news release.

The pantry is located within the D.H. Robbins School at 61 Monroe St. and will be open from 3:30 to 6 p.m. on the third Wednesday and fourth Thursday of the month.

“I am so grateful to The Salvation Army for making this opportunity a reality,” said Jackie Lape, RN, school district health coordinator and a longtime volunteer for the volunteer-driven Salvation Army Service Unit in the release.

“This food pantry is very much needed in both counties and the late afternoon hours will make it more convenient for low income working individuals and families,” said Maj. Steven Lopes, executive director of the Capital Region Salvation Army. “The opening of this food pantry is an example of the Army’s continued commitment to Montgomery County.”

“We were very thankful to have the Herkimer County Hunger Coalition donate funds to the regional food bank to help the food pantry get started,” added Digna Swingle, director of Social Services for the Capital Region Salvation Army.

Students from the school district helped to get the pantry started. Members of the OESJ varsity baseball team pitched in to help the pantry assembling donated shelving units and stocking the shelves with food donations brought in by elementary school students who collected food donations as part of the school’s Parents As Reading Partners program.

Food pantry clients will need to complete an application and bring with them identification for each member of their household, proof of address, and proof of income. Applications will be good for one year.

Salvation Army service units provide a Salvation Army presence and emergency needs assistance in communities where there is no Salvation Army Worship and Community Center.

Service unit volunteers work in collaboration with area community agencies. Volunteers are most visible during the holiday season, ringing bells and soliciting donations to the Army’s Red Kettle. All funds raised by the service units stay in the community to meet individuals’ short term emergency needs.

For questions on the food pantry or becoming a volunteer with the Salvation Army Service Unit, contact Lape at (518) 568-2013.

By Chad Fleck

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