OLEAN — Mike John Painting donated 200 turkeys to the Olean Food Pantry on Monday and challenged other potential donors to pitch in whatever they can afford.
“There’s 200 additional families who will have a Thanksgiving dinner,” said DB Busan, the Food Pantry manager who has been working there for 10 years.
Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on many businesses and employees, Busan estimated the number of families seeking assistance is up about 60% over the past year.
About 500 families a month are seeking help at the Olean Food Pantry. “Things are really tough,” Busan said. “We try to change little things we can.”
Mike John, owner of painting company, has donated to the Food Pantry in the past. The contribution, he said, is part of giving back to the community that has been generous to the company and its employees.
“It’s our way of giving back to the community to help people in need,” John said as he, his son, Mike John Jr., company vice president, and Pete Dendra, manager of sales and marketing, delivered the first truckload of frozen turkeys Monday morning.
John said the company’s nearly 50 employees are part of the donation because of their contributions to the company’s success.
Busan said about 30 volunteers are running the food pantry during the pandemic. They were setting up the food pantry’s outside food distribution site Monday when the turkeys arrived.
Those wishing to donate to the Food Pantry can go the group’s Facebook page or its website, oleanfoodpantyr.org, or call 372-4989.
It’s not too late to donate before the holidays, Busan said. Nor is it too late to come to the Food Pantry if your family needs it, she added. Income requirements have been waived during the pandemic.
John urged other businesses to consider making a donation to the Food Pantry for those in need at Thanksgiving.
Busan said the Food Pantry is also looking for a benefactor for their upcoming drive-thru chicken barbecue by Armand Burke.
“We need to buy food ahead of time for Armand to cook,” Busan said. “We’ve been looking for a benefactor.”