Hunger Is Not a Disease

I Have a Question

“When I drive down Route 28 on Monday, I see a lot of cars at your pantry. I see many people. I have some food pantry questions. Are they from our area?”
My answer: “Yes, they are from our area.”
But, that’s not the right question and it’s certainly not the right answer. The correct answer is that we serve everyone who manages to make it to our pantry…no matter where they’re from.
In our country now, in the U. S. of A., we have people who are hungry. Many of these people work. Many hold down 2-3 minimum wage jobs. Even with these jobs, their minimum wage pay checks don’t have any $$$ for food. So, they come to a pantry for food.
They come to the pantry they can get to…not the one in their neighborhood. And, the reason for that makes a lot of sense. If they live off Route 28 but work in Cairo on Monday, they’ll never make it to the Boiceville pantry on Monday before it closes.
When I worked in the Good Neighbor Food Pantry in Woodstock, there was a volunteer who didn’t agree with this philosophy. A hungry man from Shandaken got a ride into Woodstock and stood in line for food.
The volunteer denied him food. He went away hungry. He came to Woodstock for food because he didn’t have a car and his ride brought him to Woodstock.
Pantries serve the people who can make it to their pantry. At Reservoir Food Pantry we also serve food to home bound households where the residents are transportation challenged.
It’s not where the hungry live that determines what pantry they use. It’s what pantry they can get to.
Food pantries and soup kitchens are our tax dollars at work. The government has decided the hungry should not starve to death. The government has chosen food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and halfway houses as places for the hungry to get food.
We don’t ask the address of any of the hungry in our line. Nor do we care.
Our job is plain and simple: to feed the hungry.
For the most part, the food that we serve is food that was destined for the landfill. Most pantry volunteers are just that…unpaid workers concerned about our neighbors, relatives, friends who are not getting enough to eat.
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Are you working but having a hard time making ends meet? Check your eligibility for a range of benefits and apply for food assistance at:

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Peace and food for all.
Thurman Greco

An Open Letter to Susan Zimet

RT 28 at Boiceville
Dear Ms. Zimet:
Thank you for speaking at the Hunger Conference in Latham on April 11th. You, as well as the other speakers, know the subject well and obviously care about the hunger struggle that many of your constituents face every day.
Thank you for accepting the position of Executive Director of Hunger Action Network New York State. Your energy, intelligence, and savvy attitude will boost the ripple effect of this organization to a new level…something New York State needs.
Finally, thank you for your openness at the conference. When you spoke about young graduates moving in with their parents because they can’t get jobs to pay off their student loans, you were speaking openly about a situation which many are trying to keep quiet.
New found poverty is sometimes a subject which people don’t shout about because they’re embarrassed. The symptoms of this newly found situation are often covered up because the people experiencing it are asking themselves “Where did I go wrong? What did I not do that I should have done?”
I have a name for those in this situation, Ms. Zimet. I call them the Struggling Poor.
We’re experiencing the same phenomena in our part of Ulster County also. Over here in Boiceville, it’s manifesting itself in different ways:
Seniors who never, ever thought about food pantries are now finding themselves in the food pantry line on Monday afternoons at 2:00.
Working people are struggling to buy groceries. They, too, are meeting at the pantry on Mondays at 2:00 if a family members is off work at that time.
Food pantries in the past focused on shoppers in a specific geographic location. We now serve the people who can get to us. Some pantries in cities are open until midnight to serve those who get off work at 11:00 p.m.
And, pantries have our own struggle for food. At Reservoir Food Pantry, fresh vegetables are important. We scrounged $$$ and bought a long line van which volunteers drive weekly to Latham for as much produce as we can bring back. We routinely run out of this fresh food at the end of every pantry shift.
Our situation is precarious, Ms. Zimet. We joke that we’re teetering on homelessness ourselves because we’re in a shed on a food plain. The shed part is fine. We’re desperately trying to find a place to move it where we’re out of a flood plain. So far, we’ve had no luck. The Olive Flood Advisory Committee, Woight Engineering, and the Town Board are doing the best they can with what we all have. But, the writing is on the wall. So far, we’ve had no luck.
But, enough of our woes Ms. Zimet. Thank you for attending the conference. Thank you for speaking. Thank you, very much, for sharing your energy which seems to know no bounds.
If ever you’re in the Ashokan Reservoir area on a Monday afternoon, please visit our pantry. We’ll be honored and pleased give you a tour of our 12’x16’shed. If ever you need a human interest story, I have many to share. I’ve been working in a food pantry for almost 10 years.
Peace and food for all.
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Thurman Greco

9 Ways You Can Support the Reservoir Food Pantry

RFP-Tent (1)

We’re committed to feeding the hungry with dignity. We are committed to offering the hungry a safe haven while they shop for pantry food. At the Reservoir Food Pantry we feel a connection to all who pass through our doors. This is our way of offering peace and harmony to our community. And, your support is critical to our mission.
The need in our area is great. The pantry has been steadily growing since the day it opened in September, 2013. We are now the 9th largest pantry in Ulster County and our pantry is continuing to grow.
We cannot do this job alone. We need your help so we can help others.
SEND THE RESERVOIR FOOD PANTRY A FINANCIAL GIFT. Prasida and Francine drive to Latham every Monday morning and return to the pantry by 1:00 p.m. with a van filled with fresh produce. We need your financial support in order to keep the pantry running. Your contributions are tax deductible.
CONSIDER A MONTHLY SUSTAINING DONATION. A monthly check, or paypal payment in any amount will insure that we have a regular cash flow to meet our expenses.
PAY A PARTICULAR EXPENSE. Choose an amount, and send it to the food pantry to help pay for a specific expense. For example, $20 donated monthly to help pay the dumpster fees would be a wonderful gift for us.
SEND A GIFT CARD TO THE RESERVOIR FOOD PANTRY. If writing a check is more effort than you are comfortable with, send us a gift card. If you send us a gas gift card, or a Visa gift card, we can use the card to help meet our expenses. A CVS, Target, or Walmart gift card can be used for toilet paper.
HELP PAY FOR TOILET PAPER. Toilet paper is an item that many people have trouble buying because they lack the money. When you send us money monthly to apply to our toilet paper account, we’ll be able to purchase more toilet paper each month. We estimate that we need 200 rolls of toilet paper every week.
When you make a contribution as a gift to a friend or family member, we’ll send the honoree a personalized card acknowledging your donation. Send us the name and address of the honoree, along with your tax-deductible donation.
GIVE A GIFT TO THE RESERVOIR FOOD PANTRY: Gifts of peanut butter and jelly are important to the pantry. When you donate food to the pantry, it’s passed on to needy shoppers. We continually experience severe shortages of peanut butter. We need office supplies: pens, paper, envelopes, tablets, notebooks. Extra produce from your garden is needed. We always need fresh produce to distribute to the hungry.
FORWARD THIS APPEAL TO A FRIEND. Please share our story with your friends and neighbors.
KIND WISHES, PRAYERS, AND LOVING SUPPORT ARE ALWAYS WELCOME. Your positive attitude toward us is extremely important and cannot be overestimated.
Thank you for your support of Reservoir Food Pantry. You are important to us. We send blessings to you as we feed the many hungry in the area.
Reservoir Food Pantry is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation. Your gift is tax deductible.
Please send it to Reservoir Food Pantry – P.O.Box 245 – Boiceville, NY 12412
Thank you in advance for your generosity.
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Peace and food for all.
Thurman Greco

8 Ways the Hungry Get Food.


Betty  and her daughter are Woodstock born.  They’ve shopped there regularly since the Good Neighbor Food Pantry opened and began feeding the hungry.

For years, they shopped at the pantry, CVS, Rite Aid, and Woodstock Meats between periodic trips to Walmart in Kingston.  Then, several years ago, Betty’s  husband died and trips to Walmart ceased to be part of the routine.  It became a luxury for them when a relative invited them to ride along to Kingston to shop.

Finally, he died too, and now Betty and her daughter have no transportation to Kingston.  They’re eating out of the pantry and CVS.

The combination of limited income, no access to affordable grocery stores, and no automobile makes life difficult for the 2 women.  Although she probably qualifies, Betty has never gotten SNAP.

There are many people in a situation similar to Betty and her daughter. People in Betty’s  situation learn to cope with lack of access to food and the complications created by a limited budget and no automobile.  They

get SNAP if they can.

dumpster dive.


ask friends and relatives for food.

borrow $$$ for food from friends and relatives.

visit a friend or relative at mealtime.

go to the soup kitchen.

shop at a pantry.

Betty  is a single senior living with an adult daughter.  Life is a bit more complicated with young children in the household when there’s not enough food and no $$$.  Households develop coping mechanisms to deal with the situation.

One such technique consists of simply serving less food.

Another consists of just skipping meals.

A third is to feed children what is available and adults go without.

But, whether the household has adult children, younger children, or no children at all, hunger is a reality for people in this situation.  They are classified as either being at risk of hunger, or experiencing hunger depending on the severity of the situation.

Whatever the classification, one thing is certain:  
People in this situation are intimately connected to hunger on a daily basis.  
They are also a good example of the reality that in this country we have  2 food systems:

one for the poor and

one for everyone else.

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Peace and food for all.

Thurman Greco