25 Church Street
Cooperstown, NY 13326
607-547-8902

Serving northern Otsego County since 1977

The mission of the Cooperstown Food Pantry is to address issues of poverty and hunger in northern Otsego County.

The Cooperstown Food Pantry is a
501(c)3 tax-exempt organization.


The Cooperstown Food Pantry invites those individuals and families residing in the northern two-thirds of Otsego County to visit the Pantry once a month for a full distribution of food. We supply a five (5) day supply of food, three meals a day, per person in a household. Personal care items and diapers are also available as part of a monthly distribution. Additionally, individuals and families may visit the Pantry for bread and fresh produce once per week, as available.

NOTICE: Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and space constraints, the Cooperstown Food Pantry will be closed to in-person distribution. Please call us to place your order over the phone for porch pick up during our business hours. Thank you!

No referral is required for service, no payment of any kind is ever accepted, and no one is ever turned away. Items distributed are for personal use only and may not be offered for sale by anyone. We do not require proof of need; only proof of residence via a photo I.D., insurance card or utility bill. To learn more about our service area, click here.

When you visit us for the first time, a volunteer will conduct an intake to collect information for your household record – this is when we’ll ask for proof of residency. All of our volunteers work with respect and integrity, and all personal information is handled with privacy and confidentiality. We are able to make referrals for health insurance and assistance with SNAP benefits, so please ask if you have questions about these resources.

Please call us to learn more about our services or to place an order with our volunteers at (607) 547-8902.

Where Does the Food Come From?

As a member of Feeding America, we have access to a wide variety of products. About 80% of our food and personal care inventory is purchased through the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, located in Latham, NY.

Manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers and farmers donate both first quality food and personal care items, as well as discontinued product lines, overproduction and production flaws, mislabeling or shipping errors, cosmetic flaws, under-harvested or imperfect produce, and code dated products.

We purchase donated and salvage goods for 16 cents per pound. Other grocery items are offered at market wholesale prices. USDA products, which we also obtain via the Regional Food Bank, are obtained at no charge.

Feeding America estimates that we purchase about $10 worth of food and personal care items for every dollar that we spend as a member of our Regional Food Bank.

The other 20% of our inventory comes from local farmers, gardners and donations from the Cooperstown Farmers’ Market, Price Chopper’s Fresh Recovery program, and you!

Our Clients

The Cooperstown Food Pantry serves individuals and families who live in the northern two-thirds of Otsego County. For many, the Food Pantry is the first place that families in crisis turn to for assistance.

People are often surprised to learn that nearly 50% of clients visit just once or twice a year. Visits can be prompted by unemployment, underemployment, illness, injury, divorce, domestic violence, unexpected bills and car repairs. Often, those seeking assistance are outside the Social Service system.

At the Pantry, referrals are not required, payment in any form is not accepted, and no one is ever turned away. Many clients visit when taxes are due or when heating costs peak. Summer is also a busy time at the Pantry, as children who take advantage of free or reduced cost breakfast and lunch are eating at home.

 

Our Service Area

 

Our service area is depicted above, and includes the Otsego County regions north of the solid black line.

The Cooperstown Food Pantry serves the northern two-thirds of Otsego County, or the shaded portion of the county map pictured above. We are proud to serve residents of Cooperstown, Hartwick, Milford, Richfield, Springfield, Plainfield, Cherry Valley, Roseboom, Middlefield, Decatur, Westford, Burlington, Pittsfield, Edmeston, New Lisbon, Maryland, Worcester, Otsego and the villages and townships encompassed within this area.

If you are not within our service area but are seeking food assistance, please click here to learn about resources in your area.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who We Serve

We serve people living in the northern two-thirds of Otsego County. No referral is needed, and no payment of any kind is ever accepted. We ask that whenever possible, visits are limited to once a month. We provide  five days worth of food, three meals a day, for every person in the household. Diapers and personal care items are offered when available.
Please bring some form of identification that includes your address with you on your first visit if possible.
Food Pantry Clients receive 5 days worth of food, 3 meals a day, for each person in the household.

Confidentiality

It is the Cooperstown Food Pantry’s policy to keep all client records and information confidential.

New Clients

We ask that whenever possible, visits are limited to once a month. We provide five days worth of food, three meals a day, for every person in the household. Diapers and personal care items are offered when available. If possible, please bring some form of identification on your first visit that includes your address (i.e., utility bill, driver’s license, etc…).

How Often May a Client Visit?

We ask that whenever possible, households visit no more than once per month. Additional visits per month may be permitted for households with special needs at the discretion of the Executive Director.

Clients that Need Help with Transportation

The Cooperstown Food Pantry is typically unable to provide transportation for clients due to liability issues. Under special circumstances, deliveries can be arranged on a case-by-case basis. If you do not have transportation, you may designate a friend or family member to come to the Food Pantry on your behalf.

Distribution to Someone Other than Client

The Cooperstown Food Pantry allows family members, neighbors and professional caregivers to pick up items for those clients who are unable to come to us. A letter must be on file, or phone call from the client received, before assistance is given to someone other than the client.

 

 

The Cooperstown Food Pantry serves northern Otsego County. Those living in southern Otsego County should seek assistance from the following food pantries and feeding programs. The details included in this list may have changed, so please contact each program prior to seeking assistance.

 

Salvation Army Food Pantry
25 River Street, Oneonta NY
607-432-5960
M-F 9:30am-12pm/1pm-4pm

St. Mary’s Food Pantry
39 Walnut Street, Oneonta NY
607-432-3920
M-F 11am-3pm

St. James Food Pantry
18 Elm Street, Oneonta NY
607-432-1458
M-F 9am-2pm

The Lord’s Table
St. James Episcopal Church
18 Elm Street, Oneonta NY
607-432-3358
Meals served M-F 4:00pm-5:30pm; closed for major holidays

Saturday’s Bread
First Methodist Church
66 Chestnut Street, Oneonta NY
607-432-4120
Meals served every Saturday from 11am-1pm

 

Click here for a comprehensive list of resources from the Hunger Coalition of Otsego County. 

What is the BackPack Program?

Backpack

The mission of the BackPack Program is to help alleviate childhood hunger in America by providing children at risk of food insecurity with nutritious and easy to prepare foods when free and reduced school lunch is unavailable, over the weekends and during school breaks.

The BackPack Program is a national program that the Cooperstown Food Pantry participates in via the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York and Feeding America. A backpack full of kid-friendly, shelf stable, easily-prepared food is discreetly distributed on Friday afternoons to children who participate in the program. Teachers report that students who receive backpacks show increased attention and ability to focus during the school day.

Since its inception in 2007 at our Regional Food Bank, the BackPack Program has expanded to over 220 schools in 20 counties. Over 186,000 bags were distributed during the 2017-2018 school year, which is the equivalent of 1.1 million meals.

Information and Enrollment

For more information about the BackPack Program, including resources to help you start a program at your school, contact the Children’s Program Manager at the Regional Food Bank at www.regionalfoodbank.net.

Of the 124 families in the Cooperstown Central School District who utilized our food pantry in 2019, 55 (or 44%) included children.

To enroll your child in the Cooperstown program, please contact the guidance staff at your child’s school.

The Cooperstown BackPack Program

The BackPack Program was introduced to the Cooperstown Central Schools in 2010. During the 2018-2019 school year, the Cooperstown BackPack Program distributed over 1,151 backpacks containing over 11,855 pounds of food, or the equivalent of 8,053 meals! We are one of several BackPack programs in Otsego County.

The majority of programs are school-based programs who send volunteers to pick up weekly distributions from a Regional Food Bank. Due to our distance from the Regional Food Bank, we receive monthly distributions as part of our monthly delivery.. The Cooperstown Central School guidance staff determine which students are in need and students are enrolled confidentially.

On Thursday afternoons, Pantry volunteers review and prep the menu. Members of the Cooperstown High School Leo Club collect the empty backpacks, transport them to the Pantry, pack them and return them to both the elementary and middle/high schools. Students pick up their backpacks from a designated area on their way home each Friday afternoon.

The average backpack weighs approximately 10 pounds, and contains safely packaged food items that are easily transported home. The Cooperstown Food Pantry extends the BackPack Program into the summer months, providing participating children with the option of a monthly box. The box contains meals that would be equivalent to the amount of food they would receive on weekends throughout the school year.

BackPack Menus

BackPack Program weekly menus include:

  • An egg card for one dozen eggs (bi-weekly)
  • 2 breakfast items
    • cereal
    • oatmeal
    • granola bars
  • 3 entrees
    • mac & cheese
    • tuna fish
    • peanut butter & jelly
    • soup
    • canned pasta
  • 2 100% juice boxes
  • A Stewart’s milk voucher card for one gallon of milk (bi-weekly)
  • 1 loaf of whole grain bread
  • Fresh fruit
  • Canned vegetables
  • 2 snacks
    • popcorn
    • cookies
    • pudding

Children also receive Cooperstown Farmers’ Market vouchers when the program is in season.

What Teachers and Parents Tell Us

~ A teacher writes :”My participating student has been growing academically for sure. I get a strong sense that he feels we are looking out for him. Thank you for allowing our school to participate in this program!”
~ A parent shares: “It helps when I don’t have enough money to purchase the basics. Knowing we have food for the weekend is a blessing.”
~ Teachers report that students who receive backpacks show increased attention and ability to focus during the school day.
~ Most students share their food with family members, indicating how important this program is to the entire household.

BackPack Program Funding

$190 funds one child’s participation in the BackPack program over the duration of the school year, and $220 funds one child’s participation in the program over the duration of the school year and the summer box program.

100% of the donations made to the Cooperstown BackPack program are used specifically for BackPack progarm food distribution.

Donate online using credit card or PayPal (include “BackPack Program” in the message section).

OR Mail your donation by check to:

The Cooperstown Food Pantry
25 Church Street, Cooperstown, NY 13326
*include “Cooperstown BackPack” on the memo line

Your contribution to the BackPack Program, in any amount, ensures the participation of any child in need of food assistance within our community.

OR Donate through the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York

The Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York
965 Albany-Shaker Road, Latham, NY 12110
*include “Cooperstown BackPack” on the check’s memo line

More Information

124 families in the Cooperstown Central School District utilized our food pantry in 2019, of those, 55 (44%) included children.

54% of all households that received food assistance from our food pantry in 2019 included children.

For more information about BackPack programs, including resources to help you start a program at your school, contact the Children’s Program Manager at the Regional Food Bank at www.regionalfoodbank.net.

To enroll your child in the Cooperstown program, please contact the guidance staff at your child’s school.

Other Programs

Fresh Recovery

Cooperstown Farmers’ Market Voucher Program