Food pantry seeing increase in demand as stimulus funds dry up

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Lu Petropoulos of Rochester, right, drops off donated food to Gerry's Food Pantry volunteer Deb Eckler of Rochester at the Community Center on Monday. (Rochester Voice photo)

ROCHESTER - After a brief decrease during the time of the first pandemic stimulus checks being disbursed in May, Gerry's Food Pantry is now seeing its numbers beginning to rise again, Food Pantry Director Skip Smith said on Monday.

He said currently the food pantry is helping some 70 households in Rochester and Farmington, and he expects that number will continue to rise, especially among first-time food bank users who are experiencing financial hardships due to COVID-19.

Most of the enhanced unemployment money will sunset the end of this month.

On Monday the food bank saw a steady stream of both needy families picking up food and generous citizen dropping off donations behind the Rochester Community Center and across from the tennis courts.

Smith said about 60 percent of the money Gerry's and the Share Fund need to stay afloat is made possible by public donations.

When those in need show up they get an assortment of frozen meats, vegetables, fruits and dry goods, Smith added.

Gerry's Food Pantry and their Community Shop where donated clothes items are sold are open Mondays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

To make a donation go to

To donate clothes to the Community Store it's easiest to use the Chestnut Hill Road entrance just beyond Raspberries Day Spa.

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