In an effort to supplement its funding, the Schenectady Inner City Ministry is participating in the Feinstein Foundation Challenge.
For the 15th consecutive year, the Feinstein Foundation will divide $1 million proportionately among hunger-fighting agencies nationwide, based on the amount of money each organization raises in cash and food donations through April 30.
SICM will use any funds received from the foundation to support its food pantry, summer lunch program and the meal program at the Damien Center.
Day of Service
WHEN: Saturday, April 21, 9 a.m. to noon
WHERE: Schenectady Inner City Ministry Food Pantry and other partner organization locations throughout Schenectady County
WHAT: Participants will assemble kids’ spring baskets of treats for food pantry patrons, paint, do yard cleanup and more.
INFO: For further information, visit www.sicm.us. To register, call Janet Mattis at 374-2683 or [email protected]
This year, the organization hopes to expand its summer lunch program, which provides free lunches at locations targeted to reach Schenectady’s hungry children.
“Almost 80 percent of the kids in the city [school] district qualify for free or reduced-price school lunch, so that means 8,000 or 9,000 kids a day are getting free or reduced-price school lunch, and we’re serving 1,000 [lunches per day] in the summer, so the number of unserved kids is huge,” said the Rev. Phillip Grigsby, who is SICM’s executive director.
SICM is also in need of funding to help supplement the cost of the three meals per week that are served at the Damien Center, a community center for people who are HIV-positive.
A donation from the foundation would also increase the buying power at SICM’s food pantry. Much of the food the pantry purchases is funded by a grant from the Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program.
“That is the biggest grant that I have for food,” said Gail Van Valkenburgh, director of SICM’s food program. “But I cannot buy paper goods, toilet paper, shampoo, dish [soap], laundry [soap], any of that with those funds. So with the Feinstein [donation] we wouldn’t be limited to that,” she said.
Due to a growing number of people in need of assistance, the food pantry increased the number of allowed annual visits from six to 12 in 2012.
“To make their food stamps last longer, they can actually use our pantry once a month now,” Van Valkenburgh said.
Those interested in making a donation of food or funds to SICM during the Feinstein Foundation Challenge, or anyone interested in hosting a food drive, should contact the food pantry at 346-4445. Monetary donations can be mailed to SICM at 1055 Wendell Ave., Schenectady, NY 12308.
The Feinstein Foundation, founded in 1991 by philanthropist Alan Shawn Feinstein, promotes community service and works to allevite community hunger nationwide.
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