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Food pantry in desperate need of donations

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Food pantry in desperate need of donations
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Sisters of the Franciscan Church of the Assumption in Syracuse have been providing the needy with food since the 1860s. But that century-and-a-half long run may soon come to an end. As YNN's Cara Thomas explains, diminishing donations and financial support could leave their cupboards bare.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- For many people in northern Syracuse, the Franciscan Church of the Assumption Food Pantry gives them a way to survive.

Syracuse resident Ruth Paul said, "A lot of times, especially at the end of the month, it means that I'm going to be able to eat."

And for people like Paul, unemployed and on disability, every little bit helps. But if things don't change quickly, the food pantry Ruth and more than 400 other families rely on will no longer exist.

Brother Nicholas Spano is the pantry's director.

Spano said, "This is a vital service for this neighborhood. And to lose it really isn't just Assumption's problem. It's a problem for the whole north side."

"There's going to be a lot more problems. There's going to be a lot more problems with violence. There's going to be a lot more problems with stealing, because people aren't going to have any other choice," said Paul.

Through donations and financial assistance from the Franciscan Church, the food pantry has been able to assist people like Paul. But now donations are dwindling and the church can't afford to support the pantry's $62,000 annual budget.

"We've had an influx in people. We've been purchasing more food. We went through our food budget much quicker this year to meet the demands from the public," said Spano.

Usually the pantry shelves are piled high. But now, they're almost empty, with only enough food to feed 10 more families. Brother Nicholas Spano said they're hoping to receive enough donations to remain open until January 1st. After that, they'll need financial support to survive.

He said, "We're making an appeal, really, to Syracuse and to Central New York to help keep us open. Because so many people have told us that closing is not an option."

Spano says there are two other food pantries in northern Syracuse. But they could run into trouble too if Assumption's pantry shuts down and hundreds of families turn to them for help.

The Franciscan Church of the Assumption's soup kitchen provides one meal for 200 to 700 community members each day. It’s staying open for now, but fear that this could also shut down.

To help support the food pantry, food donations can be dropped off at the pantry on Salina Street.

Monetary donations can be made by going to www.AssumptionFoodPantry.org. You can also send a check to Assumption Food Pantry, Attn: Mission Advancement, 812 N. Salina St., Syracuse, NY 13208.

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