Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- The food pantry formerly run by the cathedral Cathedral of Immaculate Conception in Columbus Circle will only be closing temporarily. Five downtown churches, along with Catholic Charities have rescued the pantry from what was feared to be a permanent closure.
Funding problems threatened to close it completely at a time when it was needed most.
“With the 2008 financial crisis, the resulting recession and continued joblessness, that has really swelled the numbers,” said Paul Welch, with Catholic Charities.
The food pantry is also located across the street from the county offices, where a lot of social services are housed .
“There is significant need and having one right here in the heart of the city is critical,” said Andrew McTyre, Catholic Square Development Corporation.
It’s why McTyre’s non-profit made up five downtown churches joined with Catholic Charities and some others to keep the pantry open. The next couple weeks the pantry will be closed to give them time to refurbish and restock the pantry. Still, they say it should be a smooth transition. Welch says government programs are typically front loaded at the beginning of the month, so opening July 17th should still allow them to fill the need for people.
"Somehow we're going to figure out what we're going to do to keep it going. It may not be as many hours, may not be able to give out quite as much stuff, but we gotta keep it going, we gotta have a presence,” Welch said.
They’re also considering switching from a practice of handing out bags of food to letting people come into the pantry and pick what they feel they need.
“There are a lot of hungry people out there and they're knocking on doors everywhere they can to try and get help, it's crucial," McTyre said.
The money is not there to fund the three paid staff people who used to work at the pantry, so it’ll now be run by volunteers. The pantry is looking for donations to fund at least one position and to help supply the food.
If you're interested in donating email Paul Welch at firstname.lastname@example.org or Andrew McTyre at email@example.com.