Recently, Rev. Barry Cass, from the Somers Congregational Church, visited Somers Elementary School to talk to the third grade students about the food pantry, as the third graders are leading an ongoing, school-wide food drive for the food pantry, Champ’s Place.
Cass told the students that you may not realize it, but that there are some homeless people in Somers. He also told the children that some people may live in one room and only have a hot plate or microwave, and no refrigerator.
He then explained to the children the difference between perishable and non-perishable food, and gave them examples of each.
“We have to think about giving them food that doesn’t have to be refrigerated,” Cass said. “We try to collect as much non-perishable food as possible because that goes further.”
He also asked them to think about meals that would be easy to make – like macaroni and cheese where you only need to add water or an easy sandwich for – or meals that are already complete.
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Cass told the students that much of the food for the food pantry comes from donations – either to the pantry directly or through the church. Cass also said that Geissler’s will give the pantry all the bread that is still good to eat but is past the day they want to sell it by.
Cass also explained about Foodshare in Bloomfield and how the pantry can buy food from there for much less than it would cost to buy that same food at a grocery store.
In addition to learning about the different foods and where they come from, the children also learned that people who come to the pantry need other items – like soap, toothpaste, toilet paper, and dish soap.
“Sometimes that kind of stuff is more expensive than food so it’s harder to buy,” Cass said.
He explained that if the pantry can give people those kinds of items, the people can spend their money on food and other things they can’t get from the pantry.
Cass also told the children that they try to have healthy snacks – and foods for people with certain health conditions – on hand.
“We try to make sure people get the things they need and eat healthy too,” he said.