By Alice Gerard
The Golden Age Center announced it will hold a pop-up pantry, called “Seniors helping Seniors,” from 9-11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 31 – or “until our supplies run out,” said Jennifer Menter, recreation supervisor.
“The reason we decided to have this pop-up pantry is we’ve been getting a lot of calls from people wanting farmers market coupons, from people asking about resources, food, health and other supplies,” Menter said. “I thought that this would be a good time to open our doors, to lend a helping hand, to hand out resources, to offer food from our pantry, items that we have in our pantry, such as hygiene products, disposable undergarments, things of that nature in order to help not only seniors in our community, but also others in our community who might need a little bit of extra help these days. We encourage people to bring a reusable bag if they have it. If not, we have paper bags for them.
“We have resources from Erie County Senior Services that we will be passing out. We might be able to have fresh produce to be passed out, as well. Basically, we are opening our pantry doors and sharing any kind of food and hygiene products that we have with anybody in the community who needs it.
“Primarily, we are targeting the senior population, being those that are age 50 and above with seniors helping seniors, but, if there is a need from others in the community, too, we will do our best not to turn anybody away.”
Each person will be given five food items and three hygiene items, Menter said. In addition to those items, which include soap, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, razors and disposable undergarments, the Golden Age Center also has coronavirus rapid antigen test kits and masks.
People are welcome to bring donations, as well.
“If anyone is interested in bringing a donation in order to help anyone who is less fortunate in the community, or who wants to share their wealth and happiness with somebody else in our community, great; we’d be happy to put it on our pantry table to give to somebody else in need,” Menter said.
The increased demand for food and hygiene products is due, at least in part, to increased prices, Menter said.
“I think that, from what I’ve read, prices have increased almost 10% alone this year,” she explained. “There’s a chance that they could still be continuing to rise as the year goes on. Everybody needs to have access to healthy, nutritious food. We try our best to have foods that are readily accessible here. We want to make sure that everyone has what they need.
“We’ve been blessed by many wonderful people here at our senior center who have been able to bring in donations over the last few months. We have been able to pass out many donations to those who have asked for donations in times of need. We want to be able to pay it forward to anyone in the community that might be in need, as well.
“There might be people who have not been able to access any local farmers markets off island. There are some small farmers markets in North Tonawanda or in Kenmore or in the city. They have not been able to access any of those. Maybe due to lack of transportation or they haven’t been able to go with their friends or their families or their loved ones. Maybe because of inflation and the rising cost of everything or not being able to stretch their dollar or having to weigh out ‘How do I spend my money.’
“Everyone is having to weigh out how money is being spent. This is the reason why they are not able to access certain things, such as certain foods or certain hygiene products or things like that. This is a good time to be able to do a pop-up event like this, and a good way to give community outreach to everyone to show just one of the many things our senior center does with people and for people.”
Menter added that, if anyone has questions about transportation, such as to medical appointments or to go grocery shopping, to get a haircut, or for any other trip, to call the Golden Age Center at 716-773-9682.
“We’ll certainly have some great resources to hand out to people who attend our pop-up pantry event, Seniors helping Seniors,” she said. “I’ll have all that information out in the back of our dining area for people, not only to ask us about, but to take home, as well.”