Downtown Wellsville mission is key in the local fight against hunger
Feature photo and report by Doris MacFarquhar
Jim Campbell, Director of the Joyce Family Food Pantry and Outreach, was the featured speaker at the Monday Club’s October 24th meeting. He provided an excellent history, description of the services, outreach, and numbers of people served by the Catholic Charities Center, located at 67 East Pearl Street.
The facility opened 10 years ago as a food pantry, in the former Byrne Dairy building, well equipped to handle food storage and with freezer space. It is one of the largest food pantries in the area.
Jim is a “whatever it takes” kind of person who manages the facility alone, its only employee. The rest of the workers are all faithful volunteers.
Some 2,000 families are registered and served. Anyone who visits is helped, with some referred to a pantry closer to their home. Produce raised locally is donated and distributed, in addition to meat and canned goods. The pantry managed service during Covid using an intercom, and delivery without personal contact. Even in winter there are produce boxes, donated or bought locally, or from Food Link, located in Rochester, which is a hub for N.Y. State food distribution, and there are some grants received through the state. Three day supplies of food for a family of four, valued at $175, are an example of the distribution cost. They also have foods available for people with special dietary needs, low salt, low sugar, or gluten free substitution.
Expanding beyond food distribution, there is a Thrift Store, offering an assortment of clothing and many other practical goods. Clothing has been carefully checked to be clean and in perfect condition. Another less tangible service is “listening” or “visiting”, discovering needs and sharing ways to help. Recipes are provided to help people prepare basic foods and avoid buying more expensive “ready to eat” meals and fast food.
Jim distributed the monthly Pantry/Store Happenings flyer, listing hours, services, Holiday Food Box information, and other client services. He answered member’s questions, and provided valuable insight about an agency providing much needed help to many families and individuals in the Wellsville area.