Catholic Charities’ innovative supermarket-style Kingston, New York food pantry just grabbed the spotlight. And that’s no small accomplishment.
The pantry belongs to The Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, a network of thousands of food pantries and soup kitchens that serve New Yorkers in need. They are run by 875 fellow agencies. And they stretch across 23 counties in northeastern New York.
Yet the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York magazine focused on this state-of-the-art food pantry. It devoted the magazine’s inaugural Q & A section to interview Tom Kelly, Regional Director of Catholic Charities of Ulster County to find out all about it.
The more you find out about the food pantry, the more it is clear why it was chosen.
The pantry is set up like a grocery store. Hungry clients choose what they need. They fill their grocery bags with farm-stand produce. They add the canned goods their families like. And they grab refrigerated and frozen items from donated commercial-sized refrigerated equipment.
The only difference from a grocery store? There is no cash register, no bill. That’s right; hungry people in need shop for their families for free.
Even their children have fun as they play in a large waiting room manned by Catholic Charities staff and volunteers that is filled with toys.
“It is a pleasure to see our clients come to our pantry, being treated with dignity by our pantry staff,” Mr. Kelly says, “and leaving with bags of groceries that they hand-picked for themselves and they will consume and enjoy.”