Volunteers Chris Valerio, left, and John Renfer, center, and Church on the Rock Pastor Jeff Leahey construct shelving that will soon hold non-perishables at the new food pantry at the Oneida church. The food pantry is an outreach project for the needy by the Church on the Rock, the Gorman Foundation, and the Community Action Partnership for Madison County.

(Oneida, NY – July 2012) Thanks to the combined efforts of the Gorman Foundation, the Community Action Partnership for Madison County and the Church on the Rock, a brand-new food pantry will soon reach out to the needy of the Madison County area.

“When we heard the Salvation Army was closing in Oneida, we were concerned about the future of the local food pantry,” said Gorman Foundation  President Amanda Larson. “Then we found out the Church on the Rock was looking to create a food pantry of their own, and things started to come together.”

Larson said she was already familiar with the good work the upbeat Church on the Rock was doing in Oneida. Likewise, the Gorman Foundation had worked often with CAP on community outreach projects, including the Mary Rose Center free clinic.

Kicked off by a Gorman Foundation $5,000 start-up grant, the three organizations pooled their resources and ideas and the all-new food pantry will open at the Church on the Rock Aug. 8. The food pantry will be run by CAP.

“The Church on the Rock was the perfect location for this food pantry,” said CAP Executive Director Julie Dale. “They already serve meals there, and it is a very convenient location where people in the area can get to them.”

Church on the Rock Pastor Jeff Leahey said they serve lunches for anyone who is hungry Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 12:30 p.m., with some 30 volunteers helping out. They’d been thinking for a while about starting a food pantry at the church, he said, but the concrete plans for this combined Gorman Foundation/CAP/Church on the Rock outreach actually came together pretty quickly.

“We’ve only actually been making real plans on this since June,” Leahey said. “I think this is all coming together very well, and will definitely make the Aug. 8 opening date.”

The food pantry will initially be open Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the hours will expand by the fall to include Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and some evenings, as well, Leahey said.

Larson complimented all of the outreach projects of the Church on the Rock.

“Every time I go there, I am consistently more and more impressed,” she said. “They are a real grassroots group that gets involved with the people of the community.”

Likewise, she applauded the efforts of CAP. Larson said that even without the Salvation Army in Oneida, CAP’s outreach will continue services to those in need in the Madison County area.

“Everything the Salvation Army did, CAP does,” she said. “Their cause is the same — to help those in need.”

The Church on the Rock is located at 119 E. Railroad St., Oneida. For more information, call 315.280.4044.

By martha

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