H.E.L.P. Project (Household Essentials for Living Pantry)
Did you know that nearly 40% of American families with one or both parents employed are living in poverty. This translates to 9.6 million households described as low-income or the “working poor”. Our community is very fortunate to have three food pantries for people to turn to when they have used up their food stamps or run out of money. But families run out of more than just food and are struggling more than ever to make ends meet. Currently there is nowhere to turn to replace those daily basic household supplies that we all use every day such as toilet paper, soap, shampoo, laundry detergent or baby diapers.
The Volunteer Center became aware of this need through our Christmas Bureau committee who reported that when people were asked if they had any special needs when registering for Christmas Bureau, many people requested items like toilet paper, laundry products, personal care products and baby diapers. There have been an increasing number of calls to the Volunteer Center for similar items from people not knowing where else to turn. One day a young mother stopped by the Volunteer Center hoping that I could give her diapers; she only had two left for her baby until she got paid on the following day. The Baldwinsville Community Food Pantry, Seton Food Pantry and PEACE County West Family Resource Center have also reported an increase of requests for household supplies; which they rarely have available because these items are very seldom donated.
The Volunteer Center is launching a new project called H.E.L.P. (Household Essentials for Living Pantry) to make our community aware of this need with the hope that individuals, groups, churches and businesses will join together to help make these items available to families in need. Keeping the shelves stocked on a continual basis will ensure that families will not have to go without these basic necessities and will add another resource available to assist struggling families.
So how can you H.E.L.P.? Groups and churches can hold drives or fundraisers; businesses can become collection points or perhaps initiate a matching donation program with their employees and individuals can take advantage of those “buy one, get one free” offers when they’re shopping and donate the extra item. Students and youth groups looking for a community service project can get involved too; for example, four Girl Scouts will be organizing the H.E.L.P. project at our schools beginning in the fall as their Gold Award project.
All kinds of personal care items, paper products, cleaning products and baby supplies can be donated either directly to any of the above pantries or brought to the Volunteer Center. If you would prefer to make a cash contribution, please note “HELP Project” on the memo line of your check and the Volunteer Center will purchase the items that are needed the most. Baby items should be brought to PEACE only.
How to donate: The Baldwinsville Community Pantry is located at the First Methodist Church (corner of Charlotte & W. Genesee Sts.) and is open Monday-Friday from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. The PEACE County West Family Resource Center is located in Noble’s Plaza at 93 Syracuse St. and is open Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Please call Ellen Stevens, coordinator of the Seton Food Pantry at 391-9753 for information about best times for donation drop-off. The Baldwinsville Volunteer Center is located at 44 Oswego Street and is open Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.