by BRITTANY GROW
Express Staff

The seven course meal hosted by Sisters Bistro and Frankie’s Taste of Italy to benefit the local food pantry at St. Bartholomew’s Church raised over $3,000. The dinner was a sold out event much to the delight of one of the Sisters’ hostesses Susan Selander-Hazard-Rimato. “I would just like to thank everyone that came out to support this event. It was also a lot of fun working with Frankie’s,” said Rimato. “There was a lot of community support. It was great actually, we sold out more than we originally thought,” said Frankie Zammiello.
Some of the food and wine were donated for this event, but to further show how much the community members care for each other, some of the employees donated their time to make sure the dinner ran as smoothly as possible.
The proceeds were donated to the food pantry and Father Shane Lynch said that the amount of money donated could potentially purchase three pallets filled with approximately 30 cases each of necessary food items to stock the shelves in the two rooms in the basement of St. Bartholomew’s that make up the food pantry.
The food pantry itself is part of the Food Bank of CNY, and has strict guidelines that need to be followed to maintain compliance nutritionally as well as maintaining food that is within the expiration guidelines. It can be a challenge to keep the proper nutritious foods in stock, especially with such a large area to cover. The food pantry will put an order in through the Food Bank of CNY for items that are needed and those orders are then filled. There are times in which monetary donations are useful for the food pantry so that volunteers may go to grocery stores to purchase items that may not be in stock through the food bank. Monetary donations also purchase non food items such as toilet paper, papers towels, and essentials for families with young children such as diapers.
With the winter season approaching, the number of community members that could need meals is likely to increase. The number of meals served from month to month fluctuate, however, this past August proved to be busy for the food pantry as it gave out 954 meals, which is much higher than the 435 meals that were given in August of 2013. March and April of this year also saw some of it’s highest numbers at over 1,000 meals. With numbers like these, it is vital for the food pantry to have such events held by supporting community members such as Sisters Bistro and Frankie’s. Father Lynch also mentioned that Kiwanis holds an annual food drive during the July 4 weekend and Billy’s Italian Restaurant has also held dinners in the past that benefitted the food pantry. Another way the food pantry has benefitted is through local camps that close for the summer season. As they close their kitchens, staff will call and see if they can bring their fresh produce and canned goods to the food pantry. “The pantry is well taken care of by the community,” Father Lynch said.
The food pantry is open from 4-6 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday. It is run by faithful volunteers and though it is supported by the Food Bank of CNY, it is also largely supported by donations, both monetary and food. If you missed the dinner and would like to donate food items, there is a basket at St. Bartholomew’s where anyone can come and make a drop off. Please keep in mind that expired items cannot be accepted. To make a monetary donation, the address is St. Bartholomew’s Food Pantry P.O. Box 236, Old Forge, NY 13420.