NSEA holds pop-up food bank

Local News

NORTH SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Since school buildings closed because of COVID-19, school districts in Central New York have been providing meals for the kids and their families who can’t go without. 

On top of the North Syracuse Central School District’s grab and go services, which are offered Monday through Thursday, the North Syracuse Education Association has come up with another strategy.

Those at NSEA have been raising thousands of dollars and working with Anna’s Pantry in Cicero to host a pop-up food pantry for families in need every two weeks, based on their supply. On Tuesday, they held one of those pop-ups and cars were lining the streets within minutes of the start of the event. 

“Within the past few months, we realized there are a lot of people who previously were not in need now suddenly are,” said Phil Cleary, a NSCSD teacher and one of NSEA’s officers.

Teachers and teaching assistants gather at the NSEA headquarters and bag all of the food, which is estimated to last families days if not a week. It includes frozen bags of chicken and other protein, vegetables, snacks and more. Once those bags are full, they send out a district-wide text to families, letting them know it’s time for pickup.

For their first pop-up, they served around 40 families and now, they come in by the hundreds at each event.

The teachers are volunteering their time and money in between lessons to serve the meals.

“It’s just part of what we do as teachers, we’re always giving back to our community and as a union member, that’s one of the things that we do, making sure we show up–it sets an example for others to follow in and do the same,” said Linda Congdon, a third grade teacher at Smith Road Elementary School.

A sense of connection with families outside of remote learning, where even through the masks, the teachers can see the impact their efforts are having.

“You can just see some of the you know, the relief in their eyes and their comments that they make that you know they’re going to be okay for this week,” Congdon said.

Those with NSEA plan to provide these meals every other week while supplies last. If you’d like to help raise money for their efforts, you can visit their website here.

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For more local news, follow Julia LeBlanc on Twitter @JuliaLeBlancNC9.

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