Hunger Is Not a Disease

Hungry People

When an economy tanks, hungry people find the food pantry.   The tanked economy of 2008 has been referred to many times in the past few days on the news.  References to past broken economies  are made every day.

The situation is very different this time, but for the  hungry people, the situation  is the same.

In 2008, New York got with the program quickly, it seemed. The Hunger Prevention Nutrition Assistance Program people handed down guidelines mandating specific foods for the pantry room.  Produce, whole-grain bread, eggs, dairy products appeared on the shelves.  Crowds and an ever-lengthening hallway line became the norm.

In Woodstock, the pantry attracted several hundred hungry people to its basement room every pantry day.  The line formed outside the door at 1:00 for the 3:00 opening, regardless of the weather.  Hungry people who visited the pantry a week ago and took home groceries, would today be out of food and need more.

Today, in 2020, some pantries are closed.  That puts even more pressure on the pantries that are open.  Food pantry volunteers are not only serving more and more hungry people because of the layoffs of the pandemic.  They are also serving people who shopped at the now-closed pantries.

When people live close to the edge,  they have no reliable cushion.   They’ve lived in a situation where they make choices every day:  food or medicine, food or rent, food or gas.  Now, when the coronavirus strikes, they have no either/or choices.

Food pantry volunteers take precautions.  They take temperatures as volunteers enter the pantry.  Volunteers wash hands repeatedly and  adhere to the six-foot social distancing guidelines.

But the need for food is not imaginary.

Volunteers are realistic.  They can’t kid themselves into believing nothing will happen to them because they feed  hungry people.  They know they’re taking chances.  They also know they are doing a needed job.  For many volunteers, it’s something they need to do.

There are no words for this feeling.

I have a small thank-you gift for you.  All you have to do is email your name and mailing address to me at and I’ll send you, free of charge, with no strings attached, a small book about a food pantry I used to work in – “Miracles”.

Thank you for all you do…not only for volunteering in a food pantry but also for shopping at a food pantry.  Your actions are courageous.  Following your inner moral compass is also courageous.

Please refer this article to your preferred social media network.

Thurman Greco



The Food Coming to Our Pantry from the Food Bank Has Been Diverted From a Landfill

There’s absolutely no excuse for anyone in our great country to go hungry.

 The third category was Donated Food.  This was usually canned or boxed food in really good condition which manufacturers couldn’t sell or supermarkets had overstocked.

All the cans had labels in good condition and none of the cans were dented.

Popular donated items included Barilla Pasta, Breyer’s Ice Cream, Cheez-It Crackers, Chobani Yogurt, Hellman’s Mayonnaise, Hunt’s Products, Kellogg’s Cereals, Lipton Teas, Nestea, Pepsi products, Progresso Soup, Suave Shampoos, Tide soap, Triscuit Crackers, V-8 Juices.

Co-op was the fourth category.  The food in this category was offered at more or less grocery store prices.  Coop food supplements the donated food inventory.  The Coop food enables the Food Bank to have an inventory which meets the needs of the agencies.  Except for toilet paper and eggs, I rarely bought from this category because our pantry simply couldn’t afford the costs.  Even so, the eggs were a few cents cheaper than anywhere else and the toilet paper was important to the households with no funds.

Eggs were always a challenge.  They’re only available through the pantry in the Co-op section of the catalogue.  They were rarely in the refrigerator case at the Food Bank when we went for produce and dairy products weekly.  Purchasing the eggs locally was hard because we needed about 150-200 dozen eggs at a time.  My main source when we couldn’t connect with the food bank was Aldi.  They were about the only store that really didn’t care how many dozen eggs we bought.  Price Chopper in Saugerties was a real lifesaver a couple of times also.

One winter I was having a really tough time getting soup.   Then, Progresso donated a large load of soup to the Food Bank.   Hurrah!  After hurricane Sandy, ConAgra sent a generous load of canned goods to the food bank.  To this day, two favorite words in my vocabulary are Progresso and ConAgra.

Thanks for reading these Food Bank posts.  I hope they’re answering questions for you.  Tomorrow’s post will begin with a discussion of dumpster diving and months when we had almost nothing.

Peace and food for all.

Thurman Greco

Woodstock, NY