OLEAN — Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming, and the wish list of the staff at the Loaves & Fishes food pantry in Olean includes most foods and supplies.

David Griffis, a volunteer who records information on pantry participants and helps with the computer system, said that during last month alone, the pantry, located in the basement of Hillside Wesleyan Church at 753 Prospect Drive, provided food to 166 families, or 330 people. Therefore all food is needed, including supplies for the holidays.

“We gave out 970 meals,” Griffis added. “That’s nine meals per person, per visit … which is three days of meals.”

Linda Shafer said with Thanksgiving just a few weeks away, turkeys and all the trimmings would also be appreciated.

“We’re grateful, thankful and blessed for anything we get,” Shafer remarked.

“We have some turkeys coming, but we always need more. We also are down on orange juice, cranberry juice or any kind of juice.”

She said they would prefer that whole turkeys aren’t larger than 15 or 16 pounds, but added, “I’m not going to be picky” and will not turn away donations.

.Also needed are any kinds of vegetables and fruits, fresh or non-perishable. Spaghetti sauce and soup are among canned items needed.

Shafer said this will help when the pantry begins handing out Thanksgiving food supplies beginning this week and continuing through the end of November.

If pastries, such as cookies or candy are donated, they will also be provided to families. Those extras will be placed in the bags of families, if available.

Shafer also stressed that the pantry prefers that donations are dropped off when the facility is open and not left outside.

“There was one day that I was late going home and I happened to go to the door and there was a lady out at her car taking stuff out,” Shafer recalled. “She was taking (the donation) out and putting it on the porch when I said, ‘Can I help you.’ She replied, ‘Oh, I always do this, I bring stuff and I leave it out here.’”

While donations such as this are appreciated, they will more likely reach the needy if dropped off during the hours of operation, Shafer added.

For those who want to help the pantry, either through donations or volunteering, more information can be obtained by calling 373-6800. Donations may be dropped off at the pantry from 9 to 1 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

(Contact reporter Kate Day Sager at kates_th@yahoo.com. Follow her on Twitter, @OTHKate)

(Contact reporter Kate Day Sager at kates_th@yahoo.com. Follow her on Twitter, @OTHKate)

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