Food giveaway shares goodwill
By Pauline Liu
An estimated 200 Delaware County families turned out for the free food giveaway at the Town of Middletown highway garage on Wednesday morning.
The weather was chilly, but few seemed to mind. The line of recipients wound around the building. They waited patiently as volunteers helped distribute 10,000 pounds of fresh produce, a hundred pounds of frozen chickens as well as cleaning supplies and household items, which were provided by the Northeast Regional Food Bank in Latham.
“We were quite pleased with the turnout, considering that it was the first food distribution in our end of the county,” said Andes resident Alan Seidman, who organized the event.
One of those recipients was Linda Manon of Margaretville. She wheeled a metal shopping cart. She walked from her job at Senior Meals Program at the Margaretville Methodist Church. Since she doesn’t have a car, she was glad about the food giveaway.
“I don’t have many ways to get food since there’s no Freshtown,” said Manon. “This is wonderful!”
The flood-damaged grocery store in Margaretville is at least a month-and-a-half away from reopening.
Lisa Osborne of Hamden and her friend, Theresa Nodine of South Kortright, carpooled to reach the giveaway. They opened the trunk of Osborne’s car to show off the box of food they received from volunteers.
“I was so grateful, that I asked the Boy Scout (volunteer) if I could tip him and he said, ”no,” Osborne explained.
Boy Scout, Girl Scout and Cub Scout troops from both Middletown and Roxbury turned out in force to serve as volunteers. Many of them helped the recipients carry food to their cars.
“I’m happy to do it,” said Nick Dorrance, 13, of Roxbury Boy Scout Troop 41. “It’s about helping people who need the food and it’s a community service,” Dorrance added.
Margaretville Central School’s National Honor Society and Junior Honor Society were also well represented. “This is great!” said Esther Stockwell of Dry Brook, as she was assisted by Elia Tanzer of the Junior Honor Society.
Other groups that participated included the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce, Delaware Opportunities, the Interfaith Council, Middletown American Legion Post 216, local food pantry and flood relief volunteers.
“We came to give Alan help,” said Delaware Opportunities’ Nutrition Advocate Tammy Clark. “We hold a giveaway in Hamden once a month.”
Halcott Center resident Dan Chesire, a volunteer with local food pantries, helped to direct the throngs of traffic that arrived at highway building.
“It’s a satisfying feeling to help out,” he said.
Fleischmanns resident Kirk Holcherr also volunteered to direct traffic. “It’s a great start!” he said with a grin.
Seidman would like to see a regular food distribution program in the Margaretville area. He feels the need for the program arose, especially after the community was devastated by last year’s flood. Seidman is a retired Margaretville Central School science teacher, who is now teaching part-time in Andes. He still finds time to work as a volunteer with Delaware Opportunities and the Regional Food Bank.
“I was in Hamden at Delaware Opportunities food giveaway and I asked, ‘How can we have something like this at our end of the county?’” he said. Discussions are underway to see if a regular food distribution program can be established.