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"There's true need there" - How the Food Bank of CNY is feeding seniors

Monday, January 24, 2022

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — It is the help 2,000 seniors across Central and Northern New York rely on, the special delivery seniors at Harborbrook Apartments in Syracuse look forward to every month.

Now thanks to the Food Bank of Central New York, they do not even have to leave their home.

60-year-old Patricia Wright relies on the fresh fruits and vegetables delivered to her doorstep once a month. "The food is wonderful. It is great. The fruit is awesome. I love the squash. Butternut squash, spaghetti squash."

"It's helpful because I don't have to buy that and it saves it saves and It helps me out a lot." - Patricia Wright, Senior
This is all part of the Food Bank's Senior Nutrition Program. During the pandemic, the organization found seniors were staying home and not accessing the food they need. So they set out to find out where the seniors lived, bringing the boxes of food right to them.

"What started as an emergency pandemic response has continued. The reception has been great from staff, from recipients," said Brian McManus, Chief Operations Manager of the Food Bank of CNY. "People just weren't going out out of safety's sake and we didn't want that to be the reason that they also couldn't eat."

Those direct deliveries became a lifeline for seniors during the pandemic. "I see the faces when they light up and they say oh my G-D we have food. And possibly it's putting food on their table tonight," said Frank Gagliano, Superintendent of Harborbrook Apartments. "They really count on it. They want to make sure their names are on the list," said Eleanor Scarfino, Property Manager of Harborbrook.

The Food Bank of CNY delivering food to seniors at the Harborbrook Apartments in Syracuse (CNYCentral photo)

Those direct deliveries go to seniors at 51 sites across five counties in Central New York with plans to expand to all 11 Central and upstate New York counties the Food Bank serves by the end of this year. "There's true need there. The right to food is a basic human right and if everyone in our community is able to meet that need is able to have the food they need, as a whole our community is better," McManus said.

One neighbor at a time, they are meeting the needs of seniors like Patricia Wright who walk away with food in their arms and love in their hearts. "I want to say thank you so much. You do a wonderful job and just thank the Lord for being here," Wright said.

Last year, the Food Bank delivered 18,000 boxes of food to seniors across Central New York. That is more than 374,000 pounds of food feeding seniors right in our own community.

On Thursday, the stations of CNYCentral are teaming up once again with the Food Bank of Central New York, TERACAI CXtec and Cumulus Media for the annual Help Fight Hunger Telethon. You can call in to donate throughout the day.

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