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Voices from the Narrowsburg Food Pantry

By Katie Collins
August 10, 2011

The food pantry had only been open for 15 minutes on July 28, when there was a line out the door. Adults waited with their children to receive rationed food from the ecumenical food pantry in Narrowsburg.

Barbara Peters, a volunteer at the pantry,said, “Circumstances can change drastically in your life, in a minute, and it’s nice to know you have neighbors.”

The food pantry, a collaborative effort of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church, Narrowsburg United Methodist Church and the Upper Delaware Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, offers food to families in New York and Pennsylvania within a 10-mile radius of Narrowsburg.

As the patrons came and went, only a few were willing to talk, with the condition of only using their first names.
When Flo visited the pantry Thursday evening to drop off a card, Peters offered her some Rice Krispies. Laughing, she said, “I’m tired of Cheerios.” At this time, Flo is only collecting Social Security. Proudly, she said, “I don’t use it all the time, I’ll go months sometimes” without receiving the assistance. It is toward the end of the month, when things get low that Flo is most likely to visit the pantry.

A first-time visitor to the pantry, Maureen is a nurse’s assistant and is using the pantry because she was in a major car accident. Recently Maureen moved to a nicer home, where she is paying more for housing. She said the move was “probably silly,” but because she is tired of “paying a low rent and getting garbage,” it’s worth spending the extra money.

Because her arm was severely injured in the accident, Maureen is only able to work part time now. But once her injuries are better, she intends on working regular hours again.

Sitting with a toddler in her arms and her other children waiting, a young mother with a household of six, Kelly hesitantly spoke of the struggles she is dealing with because her husband had to go on disability. She called the pantry “great” because people are not discriminated against and no one gets “frowned upon,” she said.

When money is low, Kelly said the pantry is a good resource because she is able to provide healthy foods for her family. Once she becomes financially stable, Kelly said she would like to give back to the community too because she thinks “we’re out for a long haul.” With the prices of life’s essential items and taxes, she said, “It’s a killer.”