Holley food distribution draws crowd

BRIAN QUINN/DAILY NEWSOffice for the Aging Director Melissa Blanar loads food into a vehicle during Friday morning’s distribution.

HOLLEY — By a little after 10 a.m., Friday, about 250 vehicles had left the parking lot at Holley Jr. Sr. High School in a distribution with boxes of food in a distribution effort by local groups.

The Orleans County Office for the Aging, Community Action of Orleans and Genesee, Inc., and Foodlink, along with volunteers, helped those who came to pick up food for their themselves and their families, or perhaps to help out another family.

“We have enough for 300 (pickups),” said OFA Director Melissa Blanar. “We’ve been doing these weekly since the beginning of June. We’ve been doing non-perishable cans since mid-April.”

Blanar said that at most of the distributions, they’ve run out of food.

“This is the first one, and at Medina last month, that we didn’t run out right away, with the line,” she said.

Blanar said when there is extra food after a distribution, she tries to bring some back to the OFA to be split up for older adults. Community Action also gets some to take back to its community center.

Last Friday, July 24, Foodlink brought a little over 300 units of food Friday morning and about 300 vehicles rolled into the parking lot at the Community Action Main Street Store, 411 E. Main St., Albion, for a distribution of food.

Community Action of Orleans and Genesee, Inc. Acting Executive Director Ronnie Barhite said Community Action doesn’t know beforehand what kind of food Foodlink brings.

Volunteers distributed ne unit of food to each vehicle.

“This time, each unit was three boxes of materials. One box had fruits and vegetables, one box was dairy products, one was meat,” she said. They (recipients) can only have one unit per car.”

Barhite said for the last couple of distributions at the Community Action store, Foodlink brought 75 pounds of food — 25 pounds of each of the three boxes of materials. The last Foodlink distribution at the store was July 10.

The July 24 distribution took about an hour and 15 minutes and showed that the Community Action staff and volunteers have become more efficient, Barhite said.

“People are used to coming and our volunteers are organized. It really only takes an hour and an hour and a half and we’re all done,” she said. “Annette Finch (Community Action’s director of community services) has done a fantastic job. It just started with us doing it and then it expanded to Holley.”

Community Action is involved in distributions at three different sites Finch said last week — two in Albion and the one at Holley Jr. Sr. High School.

Of the July 24 distribution, Barhite said, “It was pretty steady. They handed out the whole 300-plus boxes. It went very smoothly. The people are in the car. They know if they’re in line, they’ll get a box. The volunteers know what to do.”

Barhite also credited Albion Police Chief Roland Nenni III with creating a traffic plan for the food distributions that has dealt with traffic congestion and made things more organized.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1