For most, Christmas is a time for over-eating, drinking and making merry.
But for the working poor, some seniors and those whose support runs short, the holiday season may also be the toughest time of the year.
Representatives of two of Red Hook’s food pantries described their services and asked for donations at the Dec.10 town board meeting. Town Supervisor Sue Crane first welcomed Pat Brammer, coordinator of the First United Methodist Church food pantry.
As a member of the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley, she explained how their $5,000 yearly grant was just reduced to $4,800. According to Brammer, the food bank spends $1,000 a month feeding the hungry and serves 425 people a month in the wintertime. The food bank is open every Sunday from 1pm to 2:30pm.
She is seeking monetary donations from the community to help with the increasing need she sees in Red Hook.
“In most little towns, the need is hidden,” she said. ”We really don’t believe we have that many hungry people.”
Crane then introduced John Roberts, Associate in Ministry at St. John’s Reform Church of Upper Red Hook, who explained that theirs is an emergency food bank that is open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Roberts said the food pantry serves the working poor and senior citizens, and he said the number of hungry people increases at the beginning and end of the month when food stamps run out or their disability check hasn’t arrived.
Roberts also said the food pantry distributes non-food items like washing and laundry soap, which aren’t covered by food stamps, and a $25 Hannaford coupon to assist in buying fresh food items.
“There’s much more hunger in Red Hook than you’d think,” Roberts said.
To donate to the First Methodist Church, call 845-758-6283. The number for St. John’s Reform Church is 758-1184.