Morrisana Revitalization Corporation, Inc.
MRC FOOD PANTRY
In 2003 MRC conducted a survey to determine the most pressing community needs and identified that hunger and under nourished conditions existed among the senior and the disabled within the community. Through the support of City Harvest, our pantry opened to the public. Our food pantry then received a grant from the United Way that helped in the expansion of the pantry. It was not the intention of MRC to operate a pantry for this length of time but because of its location is in an underserved community with high rates of chronic diseases, the pantry has become a resource that his needed in the community including our senior citizens. The pantry serves an average of 225 persons/families weekly with at least 25% being seniors.
In those years the main products distributed were canned foods. As we were beginning to learn then, these products contained large amounts of sodium and sugar. But, our customers were suffering from hypertension and diabetes, and we were concerned about this and sought out nutrition class providers. In addition to recipes and meal preparation, it was also vital that participants learned how to read the labels on cans and frozen foods and how to measure portions.
The United Way conducted our first Food and Nutrition class; City Harvest was next to provide nutrition classes, and now most of our regular clientele are voicing a preference for fresh fruits and vegetables and how to prepare them for the best results. They learned not only about canned and frozen foods but the importance of eating “fresh food”. Our food pantry exceeds our target purchases of fruits and vegetables every year. The Food Bank NYC and HRA now also support this food distribution site. As reported by the Food Bank of NYC we serve – seniors annually, and nutrition classes are provided Cornell University extension as needed.
MRC also offers computer literacy classes to older people in the community. Through the SUNY computer lab, seniors are served and accommodated. Some students are just curious about their ability to learn how to use a computer. No one will be turned away, as an example, my late mother who is in her eighties learned to send an email. She was so satisfied with learning how to email she even surprised my sister with an email.
There were several workshops and information sessions provider to seniors about the Health Care Act. We also provided on the various types of insurances and the differences with those who receive MEDICAID and MEDICARE.