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August 22, 2013

Food market and pantry team up

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“The farmers accept the vouchers and then I redeem them from the food bank and reimburse the farmer,” Weir said. “It seems to work pretty well.”

The Cooperstown Food Pantry has recently received a weekly share from Susquehanna Community Agriculture group. The ‘Growing Community’s Food Pantry Garden’ has been planted with donations of seeds and starter plants from farmers and gardeners in the community.

“We expect produce from (the community garden) later this season,” Murray said.

In addition, the food pantry participates in a school children’s backpack program, in which a backpack is filled with food for children to take home over the weekend during the school year.

The Cooperstown Food Pantry began in 1977 when six area women feeding a family with food from their homes. Ellen St. John, who recently stepped down as the co-director of the Cooperstown Food Pantry was an original founder of the organization.

The food pantry now has 85 active members and an oversight and advisor board of nine members. Although known as The Cooperstown Food Bank, the organization recently has been designated a food pantry. It is a member of Feeding America, the largest domestic hunger relief agencies in the United States and Puerto Rico. In New York state, there are eight regional food banks that provide food to needy families through member agencies.

The Cooperstown Food Pantry purchases about 90 percent of the food it distributes. The remaining 10 percent is donated by area wholesalers, farmers, manufacturers and bakeries. Chobani donates as much yogurt as the food pantry can distribute.

Both the Cooperstown Food Pantry and the Cooperstown Farmers’ Market use fundraisers to offset their costs. The food pantry accepts donations of food, funds and time.

Information about the Cooperstown Farmers’ Market can be found at www.CooperstownFarmersMarket.org. For more information about the food pantry, contact Murray at acmurray@mac.com.

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