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Food pantry relocates to E. Ferry Street for convenience to Buffalo's east side

"Whether I had money or not, I can't get out. I'm just not able. So, this is just, it's a miracle for me."
Community Action Organization Food Pantry relocation and opening
Posted at 7:15 PM, Jul 26, 2022

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A resource is now available in a more convenient location, for people in two lower income areas of the Queen City.

People in the 14208 and 14209 zip codes can now stop by a new food bank. This is for people who live near Main Street and the 33.

New pantry location designed to fill critical need for E. Ferry Street area residents

The Community Action Organization of Western New York (CAO) had its grand opening for its food pantry, Tuesday.

The Resource Council of WNY, located on East Ferry Street, is now home to the weekly food pantry which hopes to make the 14208 and 14209 communities are food secure.

"Anything fresh. I love fresh food and I cook. This is just more than a saving for me. It's the convenience of being able to just know that I can come downstairs and get the kind of food that I want to eat and need to eat, motivates me to come," longtime east Buffalo resident, Gloria Quarles said. "You had to go to them, so now they are right here in a location that is central."

The organization and its convenient location will stick with its usual schedule of Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and throughout the summer on Fridays, residents can expect it to run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

"I grew up in this building. I had my first job in this building. I became a lifeguard in this building and I now live in this building, so having a pantry here is ideal for people like me. I'm a senior citizen. I don't get out a lot and I'm always in need of fresh fruits," Quarles said.

Gloria Quarles told 7 News' Pheben Kassahun that she expects to save about $30 on produce, alone, at the food pantry today.

"Whether I had money or not, I can't get out. I'm just not able. So, this is just, it's a miracle for me," Quarles added. "This is my second time out today. This is my second time out in two weeks, so it's awesome."

Community Action Organization of WNY adult services, vice president, Brandi Haynes said, "Now that Tops has reopened, half of the community is very accepting and very happy. The other half of the community is not ready to shop in the grocery store yet, which is understandable. In addition to that, due to the pandemic, even in the last year, there is an 11% inflation rate."

To go a step further Haynes said due to inflation, 20% to 25% of Black households in east Buffalo cannot afford food.

Haynes said, "They face food insecurity, so even people who receiving WIC or SNAP or another subsidy, cannot afford to feed their household real actual food for the entire course of the month. What we want to do is kind of fill in that gap."

Haynes grew up on Buffalo’s east side, so she knows first hand the food disparity in the community.

“Number 1, I am from this community. I am actually a Cold Springs product. My parents are from this community, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles. They all live in this community, my cousins, so this is important to us,” she told Kassahun.

She recalls the Tops on Jefferson Avenue opening 20 years ago.

“When I used to work at radio, we were actually at the Tops grand opening 20 years ago. People have fought for at least a decade, to have that store built because there was no brick and mortar grocery store in this community,” she said. "When the tragedy happened May 14th, it literally just put it on a forefront for people saying, 'This is a real thing. In regular communities, in Buffalo, in Erie County and in America, there are tons of people who do not have access to food."

The anti-poverty, federal agency operates in Erie and Niagara County. It is currently providing services for pandemic relief until September 2022, such as utilities, rental, mortgage, daycare scholarships.