LAKE PLACID - Hordes of volunteers helped pack, deliver and dispense Thanksgiving meals at the food pantry Monday morning.
Linda Young is director of the Ecumenical Food Pantry, which is located in the basement of St. Agnes Catholic Church. She told the Enterprise that 300 meals, including turkey and other traditional fixings, were put together and either picked up by people in need at the church, or delivered in the Lake Placid community and beyond.
Volunteers pack a truck with Thanksgiving meals outside of the Ecumenical Food Pantry in Lake Placid last week.
"They go to anybody that needs it," Young said. "Somebody that might be falling through the cracks, that's going through a problem financially - anybody."
Young said the turkeys and other food are either purchased by the food pantry or donated. In some cases, local businesses chipped in with donations.
"We depend on local support," Young said.
While Young spoke, volunteers packed boxes and then carried them to people waiting in line. Some volunteers climbed the stairs up to Hillcrest Avenue, where vans and trucks were being packed for deliveries.
Krista Berger of Lake Placid and Samantha Davis of Ticonderoga work for Essex County's Women Infant and Children, or WIC, program. They, along with Sue Cutting of Cornell Cooperative Extension, were busy packing a van full of meals to disperse throughout the county.
"This is the fourth year that they've given turkeys to our WIC families," Berger said. "They just have been so generous. I think we're delivering 41 turkeys to our families today. She (Young) doesn't care how many people - she's always just said, 'If they need it, then (they) can have it.' She's never put a limit on it. She's just so generous.
"We work with a lot of food pantries, and I think sometimes in Lake Placid that people forget there are people who really need food here."
Cutting said these donations help families in need stretch their food budgets.
"Even if they don't use this turkey for Thanksgiving, it can still be in their freezer to extend throughout the month or around the holidays," she said.
Nearly 50 volunteers were on hand throughout the day Monday, including Lake Placid village Mayor Craig Randall, Adirondack Park Agency Executive Director Terry Martino and Cliff Donaldson, regional representative for Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Thirty-five volunteers were on hand Sunday to help with preparations, Young said.
Donaldson said since coming into office nearly two years ago, Cuomo has repeatedly stressed the importance of community service and helping people in need.
"This Thanksgiving holiday, state employees are spread out across the state helping food pantries like here in Lake Placid," Donaldson said. "This is his priority, That neighbor helps neighbor. It's the same as what happened in Keene, where neighbor helped neighbor digging out and getting everything back together.
"In New York City, it's even more so. Hurricane Sandy did tremendous damage, and the people down there are helping their neighbors. They're putting on Thanksgiving meals. Truckloads of food and supplies are coming in. Volunteerism is healthy under the Cuomo administration and that's a good thing."
Need is up this year, according to Young, who has directed the food pantry's Thanksgiving efforts since 1985. She said some families are working long hours to pay their bills and a little help with Thanksgiving dinner can go a long way.
"I never know how many people are coming, and I don't draw the line as to where you're coming from," Young said.
Young said the food pantry accepts donations year-round. For more information, contact Young at 518-523-9620.
Contact Chris Morris at 891-2600 ext. 25 or cmorris@