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Changes at the Greece Ecumenical Food Shelf

By on July 26, 2018
97961504 - volunteer with box of food for poor. donation concept.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Since 1977, the Greece Ecumenical Food Shelf (GEFS) has delivered pre-packed boxes of food to those in need who live in Greece and Charlotte. Requests have grown from a few families per month to more than 5,500 people last year, and the need continues to grow. While the community has responded with donations that allow GEFS to keep up with demand, the Board wanted to ensure that they could continue to provide food as long as there are residents in need of food. After studying the practices of other food pantries, the GEFS Board decided to operate as a hybrid Client Choice food pantry starting July 10, 2018.

Greece Ecumenical Food Shelf Chairperson Amy Peritsky said, “We started talking about how we could increase our ability to serve more in the community and do it in the most efficient way. We started studying other food shelfs and looked at what works for them and we are now making major changes to our food pantry.”

All clients will now speak with a verifier before receiving food. Those with transportation will be invited to go to the Food Shelf to select food for their families, food will continue to be delivered to those who are ill or unable to go to the Food Shelf.

There are many benefits to making the change. It is good for clients. Those in financial need may have little choice in many areas of their lives, but they know what their families can/will eat and should have the opportunity to make those choices. It will reduce food waste. There can be considerable waste if families receive food that will not be eaten because of food allergies or personal, cultural, or religious preferences. It will help GEFS stretch food dollars. Instead of purchasing perishable food from grocery stores prior to every delivery, fresh and frozen items can obtained from Foodlink at a much lower cost. It will also reduce the cost of cardboard boxes that are used for packaging the pre-packed units. It is also good for volunteers. A number of drivers can no longer lift boxes or don’t feel confident driving in poor weather but are able to work at the Food Shelf. It provides opportunities for volunteers to work directly with clients and with each other.

Anyone interested in volunteering or in holding a food drive may email  gefoodshelf@gmail.com. Residents of Greece or Charlotte in need of food may leave a message on the hotline (585-277-5370) which is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Calls are returned Monday through Friday, 9 am to 3 pm. All services are free and confidential.

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