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Thu., Oct. 8
Serving the communities of Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties, New York
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Rohde Center seeing more clients, needs more food donations


ADAMS — Southern Jefferson County’s residents’ need for an emergency five-day food supply has increased so much from 2011 to 2012, the Rohde Center has had a difficult time keeping pantry shelves full.

Between food deliveries from the Food Bank of Central New York, the center has had to rely on food and monetary donations from the public to ensure needy families receive nutritiously balanced meals at a time when they cannot afford to purchase them.

In 2011, the pantry provided enough food for 72,927 meals to residents of the towns of Worth, Lorraine, Rodman, Adams, Ellisburg and Henderson and parts of Hounsfield. By year’s end, that number is expected to climb to 94,805, center treasurer Connie Jansen said.

“By the end of this month, we’ll have exceeded this number from last year,” she said.

Pantry manager Mary Jo Taylor said the center has seen more working families, single mothers and senior citizens who often struggle to come up with money for food when their income is spent on high rent and utility payments.

“If a family comes in and doesn’t meet income guidelines, we also are to do something to get them food,” Mrs. Taylor said.

Kassandra E. Gill said she swallowed her pride and visited the Rohde Center after moving recently into a new apartment with her 2-year-old daughter.

“You don’t want to do it, but need help,” she said as she waited to shop there for food Thursday. “I just got my apartment and literally have nothing for it. I work 35 hours a week, and it’s never enough.”

Having lived on her own since she was 16, Miss Gill said meat is the most difficult food purchase because it is expensive. At the Rohde Center, clients may select a few frozen meat products and canned proteins such as tuna.

Struggling to have enough money for food throughout a month, Miss Gill said coming to the pantry for her five-day supply helps her get through the last week of the month.

Because the pantry has seen so many people in situations like Miss Gill’s, it will host the inaugural Harvest Run for the Rohde, a 5k walk/run and a 10k run, on Saturday. Registration begins at 7 a.m. at the center, 2 E. Church St., and the event will be held rain or shine. Day-of registration fees range from $10 to $25. More than 100 people have preregistered.

Funds raised from the walk/run will help purchase not only food items, but also household products such as laundry detergent, soap, toilet paper and diapers.

To preregister for the event to get a discounted rate before Saturday, or for more information about the pantry, call the center at 232-2621.

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