HACA: Holiday Food Baskets
Higher prices, reductions in Food Stamp allocations, and fewer cash donations could make for skimpy holiday food baskets this year, according to Hoosick Area Church Associatixaon (HACA) director, Dianne Hosterman. The organization has distributed free baskets of Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner ingredients to income-eligible Hoosick area residents for the past 35 years.
“Right now our budget on the edge of being able to afford a bare-bones basket and one which will bless the families,” Hosterman said. This year, the organization’s tentative holiday food basket budget is $15,000, but it could easily be raised to $20,000 depending on the response to the sign-up applications.
Donations of non-perishable foods help to supplement what is purchased for the baskets. The Scouts do food drives, local schools conduct collections and there are donation bins set up at Tops and the churches. Sometimes, the food that is donated isn’t the fare that’s found on a traditional Thanksgiving menu. In the past, those items have been weeded out and given out at the Food Pantry, but this year, to ensure the baskets will be full, foods like macaroni and cheese and chicken noodle soup will show up along with the stuffing cubes and cranberry sauce.
HACA is appealing to the community to contribute both cash and food to make sure the baskets each contain enough to make a nice holiday meal. “The best thing is to give money because we can get more for a dollar at the Food Bank than [donors] can buy at the store, plus we can buy exactly what we need,” Hosterman said. For information on making a monetary donation, call 518-366-6167.