File Photo – Volunteers from the Little Falls Volunteer Corps take groceries off of palettes and bring them into the Food Pantry on Furnace Street last March.

by Dave Warner

The Food Bank of CNY truck will deliver palletized pre-packed boxes of food to eligible individuals and families residing in the Little Falls School District on September 29, 2021, from 1 pm until 3 pm at the Veterans Memorial Park Complex parking lot. Members of the Little Falls Volunteer Corp will load the boxes into the trunk of each car.

Two pre-packaged boxes of food will be given to the first 100 families to register. One box will contain frozen items, and one box will contain canned items & produce.

Jordyan Mueller with the Little Falls Volunteer Corp stated, “We’re really excited about this opportunity to support the drive-in food pickup in collaboration with the Little Falls Food Pantry and the Little Falls Youth and Family Center.  Both entities are really important staples of the community supporting so many families, especially the young ones.”

“Food insecurity is more real than I think folks recognize in our community and across the state and country. To the extent that we can all work together to start addressing these real and present issues in ways like this, as well as other creative methods, makes us honored to be part of that,” she said.

Some statistics

A pre-covid data report from datausa.io showed 29% of the City of Little Falls’ population lives at or below the poverty level (13% is the national average) with 42% of children under 18-years of age in poverty. Little Falls’ poverty rate is about 1.5 times greater than that of the Utica-Rome metro area at 15%. (censusreporter.org). That’s one in four people.

The largest local demographic living in poverty? Females between the ages of 18-24, followed by females between 35-44 years of age. Women in this age group are often mothers struggling with the added challenge of finding affordable and locally accessible daycare.

The level of poverty in this region of Herkimer County is not unique to the City of Little Falls. High poverty rates are also found in the surrounding communities of Dolgeville, Fort Plain, Palatine Bridge, and St. Johnsville according to the 2019 SocioNeeds Index. These communities are also ranked as some of the highest need by the American Community Survey’s Vulnerable Population Footprint—72.2 Index, Rank 5.

Want to volunteer?

Mueller went on to say that she knows there are many members of the community that just want to help. “Volunteer Corp will be reaching out to our roster, however, if there are others that are interested in supporting this effort or just staying connected and getting on the list for when future events come up, they can email Katie Drake at katherinedrakelf@gmail.com, myself at jordyan.lf@gmail.com, or message us Facebook.

How to sign up

Sue Tucker with the Food Pantry said, “This is the first time that we have done this and I’m hoping that those people that find that they are in need, will call us or get in touch with us in some way so that we can sign them up. I really hope that things go smoothly on the 29th because we haven’t done this before.”

To sign up, call 315-823-1793 or stop into The Little Falls Area Food Pantry at 45 Furnace Street to register.

This free mass food distribution is being sponsored by the Little Falls Area Food Pantry, which is a community service program of The Little Falls Youth & Family Center (YMCA) and the Food Bank of Central New York in cooperation with the Little Falls Volunteer Corp. The City of Little Falls also provided for the free use of Veterans Memorial Field for this event.