Feeding Neighbors In Need

By on June 23, 2016
Ralph Honda volunteers stocking the shelves at the Greece Ecumenical Food Shelf.

Ralph Honda volunteers stocking the shelves at the Greece Ecumenical Food Shelf.

Since 1977 the Greece Ecumenical Food Shelf, 500 Maiden Lane, Greece has been serving people in Greece and Charlotte neighborhoods by providing food to those with emergency needs. In 1983 the Greece Ecumenical Food Shelf was incorporated into a not-for-profit 501.c3, formed a Board of Directors and next year they will be celebrating the 40th Anniversary of this all volunteer organization that provides nourishing food to individuals and families in need.

“We are an all volunteer group, no one is paid for what they do,” says Publicity Chair Carol Coons. Coons is the first step in the process of receiving food from the Ecumenical Food Shelf. As a “verifier” Coons is responsible for pre-screening those that call and request help from the Food Shelf. “We have an application process that has been working very well for us over the years,” Coons says.

Requests come in for assistance when people call the Food Shelf pager. After answering a few questions, a representative gets back to them to verify that they qualify for emergency help. Those that qualify for assistance are not required to go to the food shelf, all food is delivered to the home of the recipients.

Deliveries includes a “food unit” which consists of 3 boxes of canned and boxed food items designed to be used over a 3 month period and an assortment of fresh nutritional items that everyone should have including milk, bread, butter, cheese, eggs and meat. “We talk about the needs of the family and prepare the food from their requests,” Coons says. All food is delivered directly to the family in their home by Food Shelf volunteers.

The Greece Ecumenical Food Shelf also has a service called the “Basket Program.” This is food assistance to people who live alone and have physical or emotional issues that prevent them from going out and providing food for themselves. The Food Shelf has a social worker that can visit when the food is delivered. Deliveries for the “Basket Program” are made once a month, on the 3rd Thursday of each month. Each basket is adjusted and carefully packed to meet individual dietary needs.

Greece Ecumenical Food Shelf Chairperson Polly McCubbin says that during summer months there are many more than usual requests for emergency help with food. For many summer is a vacation time, but for low income families summer can be a struggle as families try to stretch their dollars to provide the breakfasts and lunches their children receive at school during the year. McCubbin says, “One message I think is important is that we serve as the community’s agent to help people in Greece and Charlotte who need food. What we can give out to those in need depends upon what the community gives to us. We know that people want to help their neighbors. By giving non-perishable foods and monetary donations we are able to purchase fresh milk, bread, meat, etc. These donations are truly making a difference in lives of our neighbors.”

Non-perishable food item donations can be brought to the Food Shelf on Mondays between 9AM-11AM. If this is not convenient call the Food Shelf pager at 585-277-5370 to make other arrangements. Monetary donations can be mailed to Greece Ecumenical Food Shelf, 500 Maiden Lane, Rochester, New York 14616 ATTN: Treasurer. The Food Shelf needs the community’s financial support to continue providing services to those in need.

The Food Shelf is also looking for volunteers. Volunteer opportunities are available in all areas, email gefoodshelf@rochester.rr.com for more information.

Photos by Karen Fien

For the Team Honda Week, a group from Ralph Honda volunteered to help the Greece Ecumenical Food Shelf rearrange their food shelves. For the entire month of June, Ralph Honda will be a drop off location for non-perishable food items that will serve the local Greece Community.

For the Team Honda Week, a group from Ralph Honda volunteered to help the Greece Ecumenical Food Shelf rearrange their food shelves. For the entire month of June, Ralph Honda will be a drop off location for non-perishable food items that will serve the local Greece Community.