After holidays, food pantry enters dark months

Catherine Kurtelawicz

It's “slack season” for the Herkimer/Mohawk Food Pantry. 

That is what organization co-coordinator John Macrina calls this time of year because of the deficit in funding compared to the rest of the year. 

“All of our grants run out the first of the year,” he said. 

But that's not the only challenge the food pantry faces. 

“I think everybody is just broke,” he said. 

That's why Mohawk Valley Ambulance Corp. Inc. has donated $2,000 to the food pantry. The money was raised during a benefit spaghetti dinner the Ambulance Corp. hosted in November. 

“Around this time, (the food pantry) seems to have trouble getting supplies,” said Joseph Mordarski, public relations chairman for the Ambulance Corp. “It's the neediest time of the year.” 

The money should help pull the service through until February. 

“We have to rely on local contributions,” said food pantry co-coordinator Bill Paslak. 

The holidays have not only drained the donors, but Paslak said it is hard on the families that are requiring services. 

“With Christmas and New Year's, they have been spending their money elsewhere,” Paslak said. 

The Herkimer/Mohawk Food Pantry serves about 57,000 to 61,000 meals a month. 

Volunteers purchase anywhere from $500 to $800 in food every two weeks, which in January can become an issue. 

“The community really is the backbone,” Macrina said.