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New food pantry in Le Roy serving a growing number of people

The lines just seem to get longer and longer each month Pastor John Gariboldi and a group of volunteers host a free food pantry in the parking lot off Mill Street Park in Le Roy.

People come from throughout the region to gather up as much food as they can carry, all provided by Foodlink at no cost.

And it's good food, too. Fresh apples, bread, Greek yogurt along with sweet baked goods and cases of water.

"You get everything you can fit in your arms," Gariboldi said. "There are no requirements. Even if last week you went to another pantry, it doesn't matter."

The pantry is a Godsend, said Mary, from Geneseo, who adopted her granddaughter when she was 3 months old.

Mary is raising her granddaughter with only her Social Security check to cover household expenses.

"I got complete custody of her because her mother broke her back," Mary said. "I'll be 80 in November. I'm raising her. She's 14 now and I would love to see her graduate and I'm sure the Lord is going to let me."

Gariboldi said he's had a lifelong passion for helping the poor, the homeless and people in need. He became pastor of Penuel Christian Fellowship, 10 Main St., Le Roy, 10 years ago and started praying for the opportunity to feed the poor.

He got involved with Paul Ohlson and Care-a-Van Ministries in Le Roy.

"I met the Foodlink representative there and she said there was a high need in Genesee County and I thought, 'wow, this is a God thing,' " Gariboldi said. "I said 'would you be willing to do it in Le Roy?' and she said, 'yeah.' "

The pantry started slowly this summer, but by August, the line stretched from the parking lot up to the post office on Mill Street.

Last month, more than 100 people showed up even though it was pouring rain the entire morning.

"A long line shows that it kind of sucks," said Ashley, the mother of two children, a third on the way and a husband who can't work because of disabilities. "It shows that this place is so bad that people have to come out to get free food when there's no jobs."

Government assistance just isn't enough in this economy, Ashley said.

"I get food stamps, but sometimes food stamps isn't enough when you have growing kids," Ashley said. "They eat you out of house and home. I know it's not much, but at least I've got food on the table for my kids. They're not going to go hungry."

When people have a hard time getting food, social service experts call it "food insecurity." An estimated 14.7 percent of New York's residents live in food-insecure situations and 21.3 percent of children don't necessarily know where their next meal is coming from.

According to its Web site, Rochester-based Foodlink "rescues and redistributes more than 16 million pounds of food annually to a network of 450 member agencies in a 10-county service area: Allegany, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates counties."

In the past four years, Foodlink has seen a 30-percent increase in the number of people it serves.

Cheryl Maxwell, a Le Roy resident who teaches nutrition for Cornell Cooperative Extension, has been coming out to the Le Roy pantry almost from the start, and she said she's seen it grow and she thinks it's an economic issue.

"The last time out, it was pouring rain and they all came out and it was just amazing, the need that I saw," Maxwell said. "Some people might have bills to pay and if they can just get this little bit of extra food it might help them pay an electric bill or something throughout the month. With the economy the way it is, that little bit of food might help them get by and pay an extra bill."

Tracy, friends with Ashley, and a Batavia resident, said she has "a houseful of children" and a grandchild with cystic fibrosis. The food bank is a big help, she said, and not just because of the free food. It's also nice to know there are still people who help others.

"Even if it's just one bag of food, that bag of food is maybe a day or two worth of meals for a family that's having a rough time right now, so it really benefits them," Tracy said. "People need it nowadays to see that there are people out there who really do care."

Pastor Gariboldi delivers a mini-sermon for volunteers followed by a short prayer minutes before the food pantry line opens.

While Pastor Gariboldi hands out donuts, his son fills cups with cider for people waiting in line.

Sarah, from York, said with she and her husband and their child on a limited income, the free food from the pantry is a big help.

Mary brings her own cart to the pantry to gather food for her and her 14-year-old granddaughter, whom she's raising on just her Social Security benefits.

Tracy, left, and Ashley.

Mark Brudz
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What a fine example of community, charity and caring. Proof positive that all good things come from people and community not government.

And what a worthy cause to donate too.

Debbie Pugliese
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"Proof positive that all good things come from people and community not government."

Well except for this part....

The term “USDA” refers to the type of foods available through The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). TEFAP is a federal food distribution program sponsored by The United States Department of Agriculture. USDA-donated foods are distributed at no cost to emergency agencies via Foodlink. A member agency is considered USDA-eligible if it falls under the above definition of an EFP. For more information, contact Agency Services at (585)328.3380 x148.
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Congress appropriated $299.5 million for TEFAP for FY 2009 – $250 million to purchase food, and $49.5 million for administrative support for State and local agencies. This represents an increase of $60 million over the funding provided in FY 2008.

Further, with enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Congress provided an additional $100 million for FY 2009 TEFAP food purchases, as well as an additional $25 million for TEFAP FY 2009 administrative support.

In addition to commodities purchased with appropriated funds, TEFAP receives surplus commodities. In FY 2008, approximately $178.1 million worth of such commodities were made available to TEFAP.
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It is awesome that part of the funding comes from the kindness of peoples' hearts...but dont be fooled to thinking community would EVER be able to donate what is necessary for the citizens of one of the richest countries in the world to not go hungry without the help of that big bad govt.

Mark Brudz
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Let's look at Foodlink's Annual Report

http://foodlinkny.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/990.pdf

Page 9
Rochester Foodlink Form 990 (Bold are revenues from private sources)
PART VII LINE:1a Federated Campaigns $61,394
1b Fundraising Events $784,134
1e Government Grants $3,732,895
1F All Other $20,035,367 (Includes donations, gifts, non-government grants)
2A Sevice Fees $662,320
2B Kitchen Meals Revenue $619,410
2C Shared Maintenance $563,811
3 Investment Income $1,388

You Said
"It is awesome that part of the funding comes from the kindness of peoples' hearts...but dont be fooled to thinking community would EVER be able to donate what is necessary for the citizens of one of the richest countries in the world to not go hungry without the help of that big bad govt."

The numbers suggest otherwise, Did the government donate, YES, could this be done without government "Heck Yes" The heroes here are not ACORN, THE GOVERNMENT OR TAXPAYERS, the heroes are churches, donors, vonlunteers and communities.

Debbie Pugliese
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Well Mark why dont you give Foodlink a call and see if losing that measly little 3.7 MILLION would hurt their efforts.

Where did I say anything bad about the people who donated their money and time? Oh gee I didnt

The fact that you needed to throw ACORN in your comment says all I needed to know....Charity efforts are only deemed worthy if they follow your political beliefs.

Doug Yeomans
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Debbie, I'm pretty sure he said that the government did donate. I think you're missing the point.

Mark Brudz
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ANY organization will welcome a government grant non profit or otherwise, that is FAR FROM the point. The point is that philanthropy and charity are more something that should be praised and preferred over anything Government.

And BTW, Charity ceases to be charity when it is demanded, it then becomes entitlement, that is why I threw in ACORN.

Kyle Couchman
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To put it plainly Debbie.... Marks real point is while your comment made it look like Foodlink's majority of funding comes from the Govt therefore it's not as charitable as we think. Thats what you plainly state here...

".but dont be fooled to thinking community would EVER be able to donate what is necessary for the citizens of one of the richest countries in the world to not go hungry without the help of that big bad govt."

let take the Total from Mark's numbers from just the Rochester Foodlink Program

$22,841,309.00 and from that we will take the federated campaigns, (61,394) and federal grants of 3,732,895. That leaves 19,047,020 that the community raised on it's own for their organization to operate.

19 out of 22 million that you claimed the community would NEVER be able to raise to feed it's hungry citizens. That is a pretty bold statement to make and then defend in the face of Mark's data.

You did NOT say anything bad about people and their charity. However both of your statements are spun to marginalize the effort and money that people do put in to this charity to focus on what the big bad Govt does or doesnt do. Thats what makes most people form the attitude that charity isn't worth it because it's always overshadowed by politics and talking points.

Thank God people still care and take care of each other, at least this country hasn't sunk that low despite everyone ignoring the good that people do for the bad that Govt does.

Debbie Pugliese
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"Proof positive that ALL good things come from people and community NOT government."

My points stands that without government assistance people would NOT be able to depend solely on charity. People have big hearts but not necessarily big wallets. If that 3.7 million suddenly stopped coming in no doubt there would be people who go without.

I DID NOT marginalize any efforts of these fine people!! The only "spin" going on is in your head KYLE (not Jeff). Mark stated the govt does no good and I pointed out he was wrong and not all govt is bad....this story is proof that they BOTH do good (and BOTH do bad also).

"It is awesome that part of the funding comes from the kindness of peoples' heart"

THOSE are my words and I meant them...your desire to make ME out to be a bad person because I do not agree with you politically appears affecting your reading comprehension skills.

Debbie Pugliese
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I know exactly why you threw in ACORN. I get ya Mark.

Jeff Allen
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"The only "spin" going on is in your head Jeff"....Why am i getting dragged into this, I didn't even comment on this thread?

Debbie Pugliese
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Sorry its late and i worked all day. Replace JEFF with KYLE.

Mark Brudz
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No one believes that you are a bad person Debbie. Like most progressives it APPEARS that you believe that government (Specifically the Federal Government) should play a larger role where social roles are concerned.

My original comment was to praise Care Van Ministries for reaching within and out to the community relying more on community and less on government, that is all, and I stand by that.

I believe that communities can be energized to reach out to our neighbors in time of need more efficiently than government, especially the one size fits all approach of the Federal government. Not at all that we do not need government at all. I believe that the Government is much too large up top, and should rather be focused on the local administration than Federal and State. I believe that the Federal government should play a much smaller role in matters of social welfare.

You seem to believe the opposite, that is fine, it doesn't make you a bad person in the eyes of many who disagree with you, just that your disagree. Just as it is morally wrong to let people go hungry, it is equally morally wrong to demand from those who succeed to bare the burden unless they choose too.

Pastor John Gariboldi is an example of one who inspires the best in people, he would and does continue to do so with or with out Federal Support, but the bottom line is that he inspires other to volunteer and still others to perform similar acts of charity. Our nation wasn't built on government, it was built on the work and charity of others. I strongly disagree with you that charity can not replace entitlement, but I do not question your passion for your belief otherwise or in anyway that you lack character because of your belief's.

The best government is made up of representatives that live next door or across the street, not hundreds or thousands of miles away in old marble buildings.

RICHARD L. HALE
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I say, this is great for people who need it. It feeds the hungry, and maybe brings a little light into a few lives. Thanks to "ALL" who make it possible.

(the above is a non-political, no B.S. statement)

Raymond Richardson
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"My points stands that without government assistance people would NOT be able to depend solely on charity."

That's not accurate at all as there are many charitable groups that receive $0 in Government funding.

Also, why muddy up this story with starting an argument? Does it really matter whether the Government funds this program or not? Is not the important issue here that this program exists and is helping people with real needs?

Raymond Richardson
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Couldn't have said it better Howard Wink

Kyle Couchman
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Amen Howard

Dave Olsen
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Yes Howard, one does indeed have the moral authority to complain about how the seized portion of their income is spent. Too much money is lost in bureaucratic morass and never benefits those who could use it. The point I get from the discussion above is one I totally agree with and that is that people donate to charitable causes they believe in irregardless of government support. Without government support, I would hope that money then would remain with us,the taxpayers and it is my belief in the innate goodness of the majority of Americans that charity will remain well supported. Theoretically better supported when you remove the bureaucracies. A friend once said to me, when we were discussing this very subject, that noone should be hungry in this country and in this day. I agree. Private charity and less government involvement will better accomplish that then what we have.

Saying that taxes should be used to benefit charity is a cop-out. It creates a situation where people think they pay taxes so they don't have to donate. I've been told that. Government has been proven to be sloppy and inefficient which just adds to the plight of those who need the help.

In the past year, I have had the pleasure of meeting many Libertarians, both here in Genesee County and from the Greater Rochester organization. All are quite generous in donating their money, time and efforts to help those less fortunate. Most would find pounding their chest about it distasteful.

Kyle Couchman
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I have to disagree in part Dave, your comment that people wont donate because they think their taxes go toward charity I believe to be false. Thats currently a belief people have now with all the entitlement programs that are popular to complain about.

Anyone that uses their taxes as an excuse not to donate to charity is probably gonna find some other excuse not to donate as well.

The Govt needs taxes to do it's job. What we need to do is make the Govt more accountable to what its doing with the the money it takes from us.

Remember this was intended to be "a government of the people, by the people, for the people" Somewhere some of that intent left and the general public has left it's power of oversight empty, allowing business and special interests to take the reigns of our Govt and direct it.

Until the apathy of the general pubic goes away and they assert themselves, either out of anger or whatever. Something has got to be done but it wont happen til people start actively seeking it out, not just waiting for it to happen.

Mark Brudz
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FYI KYLE

A federated campaign is NOT government, it is a tax accounting term. FEDERATED does not mean Federal

A federated fund is a cooperative enterprise, owned and controlled by the nonprofit members, whose purpose is raising program and operating capital for each member agency. It serves as a contribution vehicle for donors to direct charitable dollars to the groups and issues about which they care. A donor gift to the federation is usually distributed to all the member organizations, or donors can target gifts to specific groups in the federation.

The most familiar federated fund is probably the United Way. But there are many others. Many are state-wide or community-wide. Most are distinguished by the ability to partner with employers and execute workplace-giving programs that usually feature payroll deduction.

Regardless, the act of giving time, money or both. On that front your point is well put.

One thing eluted to in Dave's posted that truly rings true, many people regardless of political persuasion donate to charity and give freely to those less fortunate with without need to thump their chest.

Dave Olsen
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Kyle: "I have to disagree in part Dave, your comment that people wont donate because they think their taxes go toward charity I believe to be false."

I have had people say that to me as an excuse to not donate to something.

As far as government needing taxes to do it's job. The federal government and most of the NY State government far exceed their constitutional boundaries or "their jobs". You and I are mostly on the same page here. People can help other people, government needs to go out of the way and stop playing socialist. Socialism is a failed ideology.

I was just reading Judge Jim Gray's column:http://www.dailypilot.com/opinion/tn-dpt-me-1012-gray-20131011,0,302230.story
not necessarily relevant to this thread, but the last few lines hit home and adds to what you and Howard have said

"A clerk in my courtroom once taped a hand-printed sign over her desk that read: "If it's to be, it's up to me."
That is a hard standard to live up to, but we all should try."

Jeff Allen
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"My challenge to conservatives and libertarians would be to ask, what are you doing to assist the poor in our community in a non-judgmental but charitable fashion?"
I don't get that stereotyping at all. My experience in volunteerism in this community makes those assumptions way off base.

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