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Inflation Hits Locals Hard; Non-Profits Stretched To Meet Needs

Members of Conduit Ministries, Bemus Point United Methodist Church and other volunteers joined forces to distribute 1250 Thanksgiving meals across the Pearl City and some surrounding areas Saturday. One of the distribution locations was Washington Middle School, where 175 meals were distributed in under 30 minutes. P-J photo by Christopher Blakeslee

Nonprofits are feeling the same economic pinch as the people they’re trying to help.

As was previously reported by The Post-Journal, Conduit Ministries Food Truck Program depleted all meals, clothing and warming supplies within 20 minutes of opening for service in Brooklyn Square recently. The church isn’t the only group struggling in its mission to serve meals to those who need them.

“Across the city people are struggling,” said Cherie Rowland, St. Susan Center executive director. “Each year we’re serving more and more meals. In 2022 we served 39,000 meals, in 2023 we served 50,000 meals and this year we’re on par with serving 50,000 meals or more.”

This scenario of non-profits being stretched thin is something that appears to be happening across Jamestown and with various other organizations. Holiday-related food drives that typically provide food into the spring are being depleted early at the St. Susan Center.

“Because the cost of everything is so much more expensive, people are having to choose to pay for their insurance, electric bill, rent or clothing for their kids,” added Rowland. “Food is one of those things people are willing to sacrifice to try and pay their other bills or to take care of their children first. Putting more of a strain on our resources. Our food truck drive brought us around 19,000 pounds of food, and we -St. Susan Center- based on other years, planned on keeping our pantry filled until mid-April with this drive. However, it looks like we’ll deplete the storage around mid to late March this year.”

Food-serving organizations feeling the “pinch” this year.

“In 2020 we could take individuals on a walk-in basis for housing and support,” said Amanda Gesing, the executive director for the YWCA of Jamestown. “Now not only is there a waiting list, but the list is extremely long with a long wait period.”

Gesing, then went on to explain how her organization’s other programs and services are being strained.

“Our day care and childcare programs are full – with a waiting period- even longer than our housing program,” she said. “There have been times a child is on our waiting list, and they actually age out of the program before they can get in.”

For those wishing to donate to Saint. Susans Kitchen visit stsusancenter.org/donate. For those who’d like to donate to the Jamestown YWCA visit www.ywcajamestown.com/support.

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