From selling homes to helping the hungry

Thomas said real-estate agents are community builders, and, he asked, what could be a better way of improving the community than to help feed the hungry?

"We actually improve the quality of life," he said. "So why not team up with our clients and also help them improve the quality of life for someone else."

Fox said the involvement of the SSSAR is basically the same as gaining another set of volunteers to help in getting more food for the pantries. It is also another way of promotion for the pantries, he said, as it can help any pantries in the area that are struggling.

This new effort will also help out the pantry's food warehouse program. The program allows pantries to have a spending account to buy whatever materials suit their specific needs. Fox said this reduces the amount of overhead for his organization and reduces the amount of waste produced. The real estate community can now help out in its own way with reducing the amount bought by the pantries, especially during the summer months, which Fox said is critical.

"The more food that comes into the program, then the less the pantries have to purchase," he said. "During the holidays, some people think of people being hungry. The reality is hunger is an all-year struggle. Particularly in the summer time for people that have children because in the summer, these kids aren't in school any more. Granted, some of these schools may not have the best food programs, but the kids are getting some kind of sustenance throughout the day."

Manfred, who said he is very involved in the food pantry in Watervliet and with the Knights of Columbus, said he saw this program as a great opportunity for Realtors. He said it also fits in to who he is as a person in trying to help fulfill the needs of others.

"This is really operating on a bigger scale with more resources versus just working for a local food pantry," he said. "We can do more with more people and more organizations."

Thomas said this will even help out the person moving as it takes away the stress of trying to figure out what to do with the leftover food.

"It's a hard time when you're selling or moving," he said. "Change is hard and this just makes in a little bit easier.""

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