OBSERVER Staff Report
SILVER CREEK - It has been a busy year for the Silver Creek food pantry.
Run by a group of volunteers, including executive director Colleen McKenna, the pantry has seen an increase in the numbers of people it is serving as well as its hours of operation.
Boy Scout troop 252 are among those that have been volunteering at the Silver Creek food pantry.
"We started opening Thursday evening 5:30 to 7:30," McKenna said of the location at 260 Central Ave. in the village. "These are working families. We've seen an increase of one to two families since September."
Those increased numbers have led to an increase in demand for the Christmas holiday baskets. This year, McKenna said, 140 baskets will be handed out to families in and around the village.
The baskets include turkey, stuffing, potatoes and other items for a Christmas dinner as well as eggs, maple syrup and pancakes for a breakfast.
Increased demand at the food pantry is a reflection of the economy in this village of around 2,700 - and 2013 has not been a kind year. Its main economic engine, Petri cookies, closed as part of a downsizing by Ralcorp before the company was purchased by ConAgra. The closure led to the loss of more than 220 jobs.
Also looming is the potential Lake Shore Health Care Center closing next month, which could mean an additional 465 jobs in the immediate area.
"Our inventory is low because we're serving so many people," said McKenna, who has volunteered at the pantry for 18 years, 10 as executive director. "People forget that we have families here year round, not just the holidays."
During the recent distribution of Christmas baskets, a number of volunteers were on hand. They included: Michael Pantano, Dean and Elliott Martin, Joe Pisa and Jack McAelevy, all of whom have been coming for years as well as Boy Scout troop 252.
In addition, McKenna credited Ruthanne Roque with rounding up the Silver Creek Girl Scout service unit each year for the last 18. "The Girl Scouts always do a wonderful job and we count on them every year," she said.
McKenna also enlists the assistance of her six children, when necessary.
Those who would like to donate to the food pantry can call 934-4570 or they can send it to P.O. Box 173, Silver Creek, NY 14136.