The Hunger Coalition of Otsego County (HCOC) network is comprised of food pantries, meal sites/community meals, BackPack programs for school students, various other programs and individuals who care about their neighbors who are food insecure. If you would like a HCOC network list, please send your request to reddoorchurch@stny.rr.com

The coalition is keeping in touch with the Regional Food Bank and Otsego County Dept. of Health about recommendations to keep all as safe and healthy as possible. Concerns include protecting staff/volunteers -- and clients -- so that programs can remain open, especially since the need for food will likely increase due to more people losing income. Since many of these programs use volunteers who are in high risk categories, there may be a greater need for healthy volunteers.

Below are updates as of March 18. Responses to COVID-19 continue to change quickly, so changes in the information are possible.

Food Pantries: New protocols are being put into place and shared among the food pantries so they can see what each other is doing and adapt accordingly.

Community Meals: Congregate Dining is closed (i.e. Senior Meal Sites by the Office for Aging) and now only take-out meals are available. Dining sites are closed until further notice. Home Delivered Meals will continue at full capacity. For further information see flyer attached and/or call the Office for Aging at (607) 547-4232.

The Lord’s Table is only serving take-outs during regular hours which are 4:30 to 6:00 PM. All extra food from local grocery stores is packaged up to be used by the food pantry first, and then made available to guests who come to The Lord’s Table for a take-out meal. For further information call Joyce Mason at (607) 432-1458 (church) or 432-3558 (Lord’s Table)

Saturday’s Bread is only doing take-out meals. For more information please call First United Methodist Church at (607) 432-4102.

Meal with a Message is only serving take-out meals. It is hoped that people will stagger their arrival between 4:00 and 5:00 PM each Sunday to allow for “personal distancing.” For more information, please call The Salvation Army Church at (607) 432-5960.

Beware of Scammers and well-meaning people: The Salvation Army has received several calls from people asking for food for their efforts, including a teacher’s aide trying to set up a food program for her particular students. Please call the school before giving out food since some area schools are providing their students with meals they would ordinarily receive while in school.

Volunteers: If you need volunteers OR know of people who are willing to volunteer --

1) Maggie Johnson, new Volunteer Coordinator at United Way, maintains a Volunteer Platform online which may be accessed at www.unitedwaydo.galaxydigital.com. Use that website if you would like to volunteer your services OR to find volunteers in your area. For more information Maggie may be contacted at (607) 267-2091 or magj27@yahoo.com

2) Mike Forster Rothbart from Oneonta has developed the following which may also be helpful: Volunteer / needs survey at www.bit.ly/COVID-Otsego-Help

Resource page at www.bit.ly/COVID-Otsego-Resources

Cancellation: Canstruction at the Southside Mall in Oneonta, scheduled for the week of April 18 to 26th has been cancelled. Linda Drake will try to arrange a similar event in the fall.

The United Way Mass Food Distribution to the Public on the last Wednesday of each month has been stopped (not related to COVID-19). Food will be distributed more broadly through food pantries and agencies.

For updates on Otsego County feeding programs/sites: please visit otsegohunger.com.