Niskayuna

Niskayuna fire department helping school food program

Erica Reichelt, left, treasurer of Nisky NOW, and President Jessica Brennan sort through bags of groceries in the basement of Van Antwerp Middle School Wednesday.
PHOTOGRAPHER:

Erica Reichelt, left, treasurer of Nisky NOW, and President Jessica Brennan sort through bags of groceries in the basement of Van Antwerp Middle School Wednesday.

NISKAYUNA — Food assistance for families in the Niskayuna Central School District has doubled during COVID and Niskayuna firefighters are hoping to help a local food organization reach those families.

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The Niskayuna Fire District #1, with help from the Grand Boulevard Fire Company and the Niskayuna Permanent Firefighters Association, are hosting a drive-thru St. Patrick’s Day meal at the River Road fire station to raise money for Nisky Nutrition On Weekends. Nisky NOW is a non-profit organization that provides food to families in the Niskayuna Central School District on the weekends and during breaks year round.

“It was brought to our attention (through an article in the Gazette) that over 20% of families are struggling to feed their children,” said firefighter Dennis Plakas.

He said that is when the Fire Department decided it wanted to help communities in the area and came up with the plan to sell St. Patrick’s Day dinners consisting of corned beef, cabbage, carrots, potatoes and dessert to 450 people for $15 each.

“We feel that during this chaotic and transformational time that it is our obligation to continue to serve the community in a different way,” Plakas said.

The event comes at a time when the food program has seen the number of families its assisting rise to 80 families during the COVID pandemic from 40 before the pandemic, said Jessica Brennan, the president of Nisky NOW.

Plakas said the fire company donated $2,800 to cover the costs of putting on the event, as well as the use of their facility.

“We hope that their generous donation will be contagious and others will kindly donate to the cause,” said Plakas. “People often ask the Fire Department what can we do to help. So here is a way for people to be involved. We are asking for others to help support this cause and to donate so that kids don’t go hungry.”

Brennan said she was beyond delighted by the fire department’s efforts.

“We’re absolutely blown away,” she said. “It’s just awesome.”

It’s also one fundraising event the organization doesn’t have to worry about planning and executing, she said, noting it takes a load off of their plate.

Plakas said all 450 tickets for meals were sold, resulting in $6,750 for Nisky NOW.

Plakas also said the department is discussing holding the event annually because there has been such positive feedback from the community for it.

“We see it as bringing the community together,” Plakas said.

Donate to Nisky Nutrition On Weekends

Make a check out to Nisky NOW and mail it to 1737 Union St. #132, Niskayuna 12309 or donate on Paypal by searching

[email protected]

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Categories: News, Schenectady County, Your Niskayuna

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