When the Enfield Food Distribution center was forced to close in early June for mandatory repairs and upgrades, hundreds of residents were forced to find another way to get the food they needed for close to a month. While other local pantries helped to take on the load, gaps were inevitable. Other pantries were farther away, had different hours, or took longer to distribute the food. The closing of one pantry, which has seen a significant rise in need over the last several years, upended the lives of hundreds of residents already struggling to get what they need.
The Enfield pantry reopened on July 1, a little less than a month after closing when an inspection from the Food Bank of the Southern Tier found that the pantry needed to deal with a rodent infestation and make repairs to the building to be operating up to code. A critical need, thought not a requirement for re-opening, was a new $17,000 walk-in freezer to store the perishable food that the pantry used to keep on palettes. Without the freezer the pantry would have to accept less perishable food from the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, according to President and CEO of the food bank Natasha Thompson.