The holiday baskets that Venture distributes include a turkey or ham, along with nonperishable cranberry sauce, gravy, stuffing, vegetables and cake or brownie mix. Each family will also receive margarine, a loaf of bread and a dozen eggs.
While this gesture is an important part of Venture's program, it does pose a challenge for the shelter and the roughly 25 volunteers who work there.
"It's going to be tight," said Co-Director Carol Broderick. "We're starting to put things aside for the baskets now."
Margic and Broderick took over the Venture Food Pantry earlier this year, and have since introduced a refrigerator for perishables and established a relationship with Food Pantries for the Capital District and the Regional Food Bank.
Most food pantries provide consultation services so users can apply for HEAP, food stamps and other programs. Sometimes government help doesn't stretch as far as it needs to, though, and that's where food pantries come in as an emergency measure.
"We fill in at the end of the month," said Onesquethaw Food Pantry Director Betty Koban. "When people run out of food stamps, etc., we provide food the last Tuesday of the month."
The Onesquethaw Pantry, which is run out of the Onesquethaw Reformed Church, is also supported by the Unionville Dutch Reformed Church, Jerusalem Reformed Church and Clarksville Community Church. The pantry served 26 families last month, which is about average.
All of the pantries The Spotlight spoke with said they appreciate donations of non-perishable food and personal items like toothpaste, toilet paper, diapers and the like. Especially as the holiday season approaches, there will be food drive opportunities throughout the community. Cash donations are also acceptable.