The North Tonawanda Inter-Church Food Pantry continues to be a necessity for a yearly average of 5,000 people across Niagara County. With the support from United Way of Greater Niagara (UWGN), we continuously strive to improve our operation in an effort to better serve families in need through the standard Hunger Prevention Nutrition Assistance Program and Healthy Pantry Initiative. The Pantry serves anyone who comes with a referral from sponsoring churches or agencies with service areas spanning across North Tonawanda, Tonawanda, Wheatfield and Sanborn.
Each year, the Pantry receives food that is collected at The Annual Letter Carriers Stamp-Out Hunger Food Drive in May. This past year we collected 53,000 pounds of food. United Way of Greater Niagara is instrumental in providing funding for us to purchase additional food items that are not donated, such as meat product and side dish foods to complement our regular distribution. We also look forward to UWGN’s annual Day of Caring, when volunteers help with special projects to improve our food pantry. One year we had a whole conference room redone with a new carpet and paint, and a table donated by local businesses involved with United Way’s Day of Caring!
We take pride in working with other members of our community, providing an excellent referral system in which we frequently send clients to The Salvation Army or Niagara Community Action Program for additional services such as rental assistance, budgeting, cooking classes, weatherization and food stamp application assistance. During the holidays, our agency also works with The Salvation Army and Nia-Cap for families of the Twin Cities by providing families with toys, clothes, books, hats and mittens.
In the simplest of terms, our mission is to feed the hungry. We are always grateful to those who give, as we strive to achieve our mission in helping our less fortunate neighbors. As we enter our 38th year of serving the needy, we remain committed to assisting low income families and the elderly for as long as we continue receiving funding and necessary donations from incredible organizations like United Way of Greater Niagara, and of course the community at large.
Bonnie Shaffer is the executive director of the North Tonawanda Inter-Church Food Pantry. For more information about the Pantry, call 692-8552.