Soaring food prices are forcing people to find ways to stretch their grocery dollar. This has been difficult for low-income families, which is why local pantries, like CazCares in Cazenovia, play an important community role in helping people get what they need to survive.
A personalized grocery order is something almost everyone who comes to CazCares enjoys. It’s a service that has become particularly useful with rising food prices.
Staff members say they help feed 200 families each month. CazCares is a food and clothing pantry that has been helping Madison County residents for 40 years. People like Madison County resident Danny Osborne.
“I used to get a lot of my work clothes here, but I don’t work a lot anymore,” Osborne said.
Osborne battled illness, after undergoing a liver transplant that put him out of work. He says he comes to the pantry once a month.
“I get clothes that I couldn’t afford. Sometimes I get socks and all kinds of things. I have this jacket here,” he said.
Over the past year, pantry volunteers have helped at least 800 people. They have even started delivering groceries to people who have transportation issues.
“We provide a safety net for families who are concerned about not having enough food and can come for food without any harm,” said Gigi Redmond, executive director of CazCares.
In addition to the pantry, once a month they host a fresh food giveaway in which local grocery stores provide fresh produce and food staples. It takes place on the second Tuesday of every month and in just one day has helped feed over 100 people.
They also have literacy programs and offer referral services for additional needs.
“I think people should know that there are people who may use help at different times for different reasons who live in your own community,” Redmond said. “They’re no different than you or me, except they may have a little less money to operate. We should welcome them into our community and help them whenever we can.
According to data from CazCares, 26% of Madison County residents live in poverty. CazCares works with the Cazenovia School District to help families in need as well as the CNY Food Bank to provide more food.