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COLUMN: Food pantries aim to accommodate need

— With the holidays approaching, many organizations will prepare food baskets. Food pantries across the state have begun to reach out to the community in hopes to have enough to stock the shelves for all in need.

In Onondaga County, there are 105 sites. The Food Bank estimates that 38 percent of those fed by food pantries are children. Onondaga County estimated it distributed enough food for 4.8 million meals from July 2010 to June 2011.

Important to all food pantries are donations of lower sodium foods. Many are watching their blood pressure these days and too much sodium raises blood pressure. The Food Bank suggests the following foods for donating: canned tuna, canned beans/legumes, dried beans/legumes, peanut butter, dinner “mixes,” pasta-rice-grains, cereals, oatmeal, soups and stews, canned/dried fruits and canned vegetables.

Here are list of some local food pantries and soup kitchens registered with the Food Bank that are always grateful for donations in Onondaga County:

Baldwinsville Community Food Pantry, 17 W. Genesee St., Baldwinsville

Marcellus Ecumenical Food Pantry, 1 East Main St., Marcellus

Peace Inc. - Balwinsville Food Pantry, 93 Syracuse St., Baldwinsville

St Joseph's Food Pantry, 5600 W. Genesee St., Camillus

Skaneateles Ecumenical Food Pantry, 819 W. Genesee St. Road, Skaneateles

Seton Food Pantry, 3494 State Route 31, Baldwinsville

Perhaps some of you have considered hosting a food drive. Even a small group can make a difference. To receive information or to launch a food drive at your office, a community group or a nearby school, contact Lynn Hy for tips at 437-1899 x247 or email her at lhy@foodbankcny.org. To coordinate a local effort with one of the pantries listed above, call Annie Ockert at the Food Bank at 437-1899 x251. For a more complete list of food pantries, visit foodbank.org.

Assemblyman Will Barclay represents residents of Assembly District 120, which includes Lysander. He can be reached by mail at 200 North Second St., Fulton, NY 13069, by e-mail at barclaw@assembly.state.ny.us or by phone (598-5185).

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