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From selling homes to helping the hungry

Realtors from around the region have joined forces with The Food Pantries for the Capital District in an effort to gather more food for those in need.

On Thursday, July 21, a seminar was held to introduce real estate agents in the Capital District to the idea of helping moving families that are packing their belongings take the leftover food in the house and pack it up for donations.

The idea came to Saratoga Schenectady Schoharie Association of Realtors President Stuart Thomas during a New York State Association of Realtors presidential luncheon. It was there he heard Long Island had a food program where Realtors helped collect leftover food from houses to donate to food pantries. Thomas said he liked the idea and approached Tom Mason, president of Arnoff Storage, to figure out how to put the program together.

Mason suggested working with Food Pantries Executive Director Benji Fox. Thomas said he then spoke with John Manfred, general manager of the Manfred Real Estate Learning Center, Inc., who said using his learning center would be a great way to get the word out to Realtors in the Capital District about the program. Thomas said that this program isn't just open to Realtors, though, and said he wanted anyone who had an interest in helping to be involved.

We're getting Realtors, some bankers and some insurance people, Thomas said. "My philosophy in life is to be inclusive. The more people you can bring in, then the more ideas and the better it is going to be."

Thomas said this program can now be used as a tool to make the moving process better for both Realtors and their clients. He said there hasn't been a serious effort to try and get the food people will throw away during a move into the hands of people who need it.

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