The Community Foundation of Otsego County (CFOC), a 501c3 nonprofit public charity founded in 2019 to bring together financial and human resources to address challenges and increase opportunity in Otsego County, recently conducted a survey asking respondents to prioritize the work we should address.
Nearly 300 people told us the greatest needs fall in the category of Basic Human Services: food
insecurity, affordable housing, transportation, child care, mental health/addiction, special needs populations, healthcare, geriatric services, crime prevention, and homelessness.
(Respondents also cited educational pathways, community and economic development, arts and culture, environment, and social justice.)
Stepping up to address all these challenges is, of course, the extensive network of nonprofits and social service agencies throughout the county. There are over 160 registered nonprofits in Otsego County, only 61 of which have one or more staff members. Every day, hundreds of volunteers work steadfastly for the good of their fellow citizens.
COVID’s devastating impact has focused our attention to the services offered by all these groups and their heroic volunteers. We’re pleased to introduce our “Spotlight on Social Services” column to detail the mission, programs, clients, volunteers and challenges they face.
CFOC hopes these features will encourage readers not only to become familiar with these groups, but also support and volunteer. We can honor the advice of Winston Churchill: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
Find out more about the Community Foundation of Otsego County at https://cfotsego.org/.
Our first ‘Spotlight’ shines on The Hunger Coalition of Otsego County — a group created to help unite the county’s various feeding programs. The diverse group combines some 164 network participants — feeding programs, farmers’ markets, religious, educational, and nonprofit agencies, and individuals.
With grants in 2020 from CFOC and The Clark Foundation, the Coalition helped community pantries purchase everything from paper bags to freezers and shelving; local donors and additional Clark Foundation grants in 2021 allowed the Coalition to support pantries and give $10,000 to the Center for Agricultural Development and Entrepreneurship, which sends fresh produce, milk, cheese, and other products to food pantries. Five Star Subaru coordinated a food drive with the Coalition.
The Coalition’s board is all-volunteer, as are the staffs of most local food pantries. The Hunger Coalition of Otsego County seeks suitable volunteers not only for board participation, but also for the many programs they assist.
The Coalition includes:
- Burlington Flats Food Pantry
- Community Cupboard (Edmeston)
- Unadilla Valley Food Pantry
- Southtown Food Pantry
(South New Berlin)
- The Cooperstown Food Pantry
- Richfield Springs Food Pantry
- The Salvation Army Food Pantry
- West Oneonta Baptist Church Pantry
- Daily Bread Pantry (Cherry Valley)
- Butternut Valley Food Pantry
- St. James’ Episcopal Church
Loaves and Fishes (Oneonta)
- St. Mary’s Food Pantry (Oneonta)
- Faith Deliverance Tabernacle
- Schuyler Lake Food Cupboard
- First Presbyterian Food Pantry
- Tri-Valley Food Pantry (Schenevus)
- Milford Food Pantry
- Hartwick United Methodist
- 7th Day Adventist Helping Hands
- Otego Community Food Pantry
- St. Matthew Lutheran Food Pantry
- United Methodist Church Food
Pantry (Mt. Upton)
- Unadilla Community Food Pantry
For more information, contact Board President Cindy Blanchard at 607-206-4281, visit the Coalition’s Facebook page @HCOCOTSEGO, or its website at www.otsegohunger.com. Find additional information through Rev. Dr. Cynthia Walton-Leavitt at firstname.lastname@example.org.