Monday, November 22, 2010

Temple Concord neighbors “CHOW down”

By: Sharon Nichols

Coordinator Adrienne Bennett in the Temple Concord Pantry.

Coordinator Adrienne Bennett in the Temple Concord Pantry.
On Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, under the auspices of Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse, nearby residents visit the lower level of Temple Concord, which has served as a CHOW pantry for more than 17 years.

Adrienne Bennett, current coordinator of the Temple Concord Pantry, explained the operation: There are 29 CHOW pantries throughout Broome County, organized by the Broome County Council of Churches. CHOW evaluates applicants, assigns them to a pantry near their homes and notifies the pantry personnel of the clients’ family size and needs.

Temple Concord’s pantry is staffed by fewer than 10 volunteers, both Jewish and non-Jewish. Training of new volunteers addresses the physical operation and the expectations for client interaction. The training is intended to ensure that patrons of the pantry feel welcome and comfortable. The coordinator is responsible for scheduling volunteers, regularly inventorying supplies and placing orders with the CHOW warehouse for needed items.

Temple Concord provides the pantry with a section of its lower level, complete with shelving and office equipment. There is a collection drive during the High Holy Days and food donations can be dropped off in the street level lobby throughout the year. The temple maintains a CHOW fund available for member donations, which are forwarded to the CHOW office. While stock varies, the most needed items currently are bottles of fruit juice, canned fruit, gelatin and pudding mixes. Bennett noted that in the past, the pantry was able to provide coupons that could be redeemed at specific supermarkets for perishables such as eggs, butter and meat. However, only milk coupons are currently available.

Bennett has coordinated the Temple Concord Pantry for approximately 10 years. She enjoys talking with the clients and their children, and believes that her efforts make a difference in the community. A native of Brooklyn, NY, she has a daughter, Ricki, in Oakland, CA; a son, Mark, in Honolulu, HI; and a granddaughter in Walla Walla, WA.

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