Seneca Co. House of Concern Need to Feed Challenge

The Seneca County House of Concern is in the midst of their Need to Feed Challenge. The program was initiated this year after the organization was informed that the Feinstein Foundation was discontinuing their annual challenge to focus on other service areas. In 2014, the Feinstein Challenge helped the Seneca County House of Concern raise over $12,000 to provide meals, clothing and assistance to Seneca County residents going through difficult times. The Seneca County based food pantry has seen great increases in the need in their county-wide service area, so the Board of Directors decided to turn this potentially devastating blow to their ability to provide meals to the hungry into an opportunity.Executive Director, Rhonda Pollino notes, “Our mission here at the Seneca County House of Concern, however, remains the same – to help those in need with basic needs such as food, clothes and household items and to treat everyone with dignity and respect. In order to continue to meet this community’s needs, we must fill this gap in funding.”The HOC, which is a United Way of Seneca County partner agency, has been able to secure matching funding from overwhelmingly generous businesses, churches and service organizations of $12,000. This means the fund-raising drive can match any and all contributions up to $12,000 with dollar for dollar.Left to right: Greg Sarra, VP, Seneca County House of Concern; Jan Caracillo, Betty Canne, and Irene Ferrante, of Trinity Episcopal Church, and Rhonda Pollino, Executive Director, HOC.”While the Feinstein Challenge was based on the amount we were able to raise, it was not a dollar-for-dollar match,” says Board President Stephen Beals. “Thanks to our terrific supporters, we are now able to offer a full match for every dollar donated. We were amazed at how generous our supporters have been to make this possible.”Among the supporting organizations providing matching funds are Trinity Episcopal Church and Generations Bank, both of which donated $2,500 or more to the effort. Other donors include Bill Cram Chevrolet, Seneca Daily News, Lyons National Bank, Five Star Bank, Seneca Falls Methodist, Waterloo Methodist Church, West Fayette Presbyterian, and Barrister’s Bed and Breakfast.Left to right: Desirée Hardy of Generations Bank, Greg Sarra, and Rhonda Pollino, Executive Director, HOC.In spite of the opportunity to raise additional funds, the need continues to grow. This year, due to the unusually harsh winter, many families are squeezed between paying high utility bills and putting food on the table – a decision no one should have to make. The HOC is now providing food for an average of 1200 people every month. In 2014 the organization provided nearly a quarter of a million meals to hungry folks in Seneca County.The Need to Feed Challenge has officially hit its halfway point this year and has already raised two-thirds of its goal. This year, the need is greater and your donation has never gone further.As part of the Need to Feed Challenge, the food pantry is encouraging donations of both perishable and non-perishable foods. During the coming growing season, fresh fruits and vegetables can provide a significant nutritional boost for the families coming to the food pantry. Often processed foods are very high in fats, sodium, and ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, so care in the selection of items to be donated can help provide better nutrition for folks.”We are one of six food pantries in Seneca County, and while the dollar-for-dollar match only applies to donations to the House of Concern through May 15th, we also encourage folks to support the pantries in their own communities,” Pollino said. “We may be the largest food pantry, but when you help any of the other pantries it helps everyone.”

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