A brief history of our pantry:
The Shenendehowa Helping Hands Food Pantry was founded in 1972 by Irma Osterhout and Kathy Sweeney. Originally Irma and Kathy ran the Pantry out of Kathy's home. But within a few years the Pantry had grown too large to remain at Kathy's. Fortunately, Irma's church, the Jonesville United Methodist Church, offered to house the pantry. Originally the pantry shared space with the church's Sunday School class. We only had two storage closets that were built by Boy Scouts for their Eagle Scout Project.
Overtime, as the pantry grew, the JUMC very generously gave the us more and more space. In 2002, Director Marion Lundgren spearheaded a project to build a large storage facility on the side of the church. A capital campaign allowed us to build a spacious storage room which now houses most of our surplus food, a large industrial sized freezer and a refrigerator.
We now serve approximately 120+ families monthly from the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake and Shenendehowa School Districts.
How are we staffed?
We are a completely volunteer based organization. We currently have 5 co-directors and approximately 50 volunteers from the Shenendehowa and Burnt Hills Ballston Lake Communities. Volunteers work weekly to place orders with the Regional Food Bank, pick up food from the Regional Food Bank and donations from local grocery stores and bread distributors, sort and organize donations, stock shelves, and assist clients as they shop through our pantry.
What is a 'Client Choice' food pantry?
We are very proud that we are a "Client Choice" Food Pantry. This means that clients are able browse our shelves and select the foods that they want. We find that this approach better serves our clients' needs and reduces food waste. Clients may choose from a wide selection of canned and boxed foods, frozen meats and seafood, dairy products, fresh produce, breads, personal hygiene and cleaning products. In addition, during each visit clients receive Stewart's Shops gift cards for milk and eggs. These may be redeemed at any Stewart's.
How can you become a client?
Our pantry serves clients who reside in the Shenendehowa and Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake School Districts.
During your first visit, please plan to bring proof of your address. We will then review our policies and ask you to sign the Regional Food Bank 'Income Level Self Attestation Form.'
When are we open?
During Covid - 19 we are open on Fridays from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM.
How do we get our food?
We receive food, personal hygiene and cleaning product donations from a wide variety of sources: individuals in the community, local churches, food drives hosted by local schools, the Boy Scouts, the Post Office and other groups. Each week the pantry purchases approximately 800 lbs. of canned, frozen and fresh food from the Regional Food Bank in Latham, NY to supplement the non-perishable donations we receive from the community. In addition, Price Chopper and Uncommon Grounds Coffee and Bagels donate breads, baked goods and bagels weekly. During the summer, the Jonesville United Methodist Church's "Green Team" gives us fresh produce from their garden.
What happens for the Thanksgiving and December holidays?
During the holiday seasons, we give clients increased food options to enhance their holiday meals. We also give certified clients Price Chopper or Aldi gift cards so that they may purchase their own holiday favorites. In addition, for Thanksgiving, we make 100 Fruit Baskets that are delivered by the Department of Social Services to families throughout Saratoga County.
How can you help?
Food or monetary donations are always appreciated. Please click Donate for more information.
If you are interested in volunteering, please call the Food Pantry at 518-877-7380. We need volunteers to work "behind the scenes" to drive to the Regional Food Bank to pick up orders, sort and organize donations, and stock shelves. Other volunteers work directly with clients as they welcome and certify clients, assist clients as they move through the pantry, and distribute produce, baked goods, dairy products, and meats.