Thursday, 12 September 2013 12:45

Shelters of Saratoga In Need Of Food Donations

By Brian Cremo | News

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Shelters of Saratoga, the only co-ed shelter in Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties, is in need of donations for what is now a pantry very low on food.

“Usually I have until the end of October, but we opened a new shelter last year, so with the two shelters we’re really needing a lot of food,” said Bonnie Potter, Shelters of Saratoga (SOS) house manager. “And I think our donations are down now too.”

Whether it’s due to the economy or more people being away on vacation, the minimal donations have left the shelves in the cupboards more bare than years past.

This time of year is particularly tough on the shelter.

“Once September, October comes around is when we’ve really exhausted almost everything,” Potter said. “The way grants are being cut and the economy is really bad, it’s hard to get grants to fulfill the amount of food that we have to buy.”

There are currently 31 residents in the two houses, 18 in one and 13 in the other, who usually are able to have three meals a day on weekends and two meals a day during the week.

On Thursday, SOS Director of Marketing and Development Cindy Harrington held a community lunch to educate people on the shelter.

“It’s not just a place where people sleep,” said Potter, who has come across people living in Saratoga who aren’t aware of the shelter. “They get case management and things like that to help them find jobs.”

To be a SOS resident, you have to be over the age of 18, sober and looking for a job if you don’t have one. Residents also have to meet with a case manager at least once or twice a week, as they will also be able to review medical options and search for alternative housing.

“While they’re here, if they have a job, even if they work the night shift, they can come and sleep during the day,” Potter said. “I tell people not to judge because it could be anybody, especially with the economy the way it is. We have people from all walks of life. We had someone with a master’s degree one time come in. We’ve had people who lost their jobs or [are residents] for health reasons.”

The shelter seldom sees bread donations, which they used to get a lot more of. Stewart’s milk cards also go a long way, so milk can be purchased as needed. Some of the other biggest needs are coffee, creamer and sugar because of SOS being a dry house.

With no alcohol or drugs allowed, coffee is a popular fulfillment (see below for most needed goods).

Two things the shelter does not need are cranberry sauce and canned beans. Other than that, SOS is very low on necessary foods.

“Sometimes people might not think about donating until holiday time,” Potter said. “Maybe Thanksgiving or Christmas when people are starting to think about giving, where we really have to think about giving all year round.”

If someone is interested in donating food items, just make sure to check the labels for an expiration date. The shelter, located at 14 Walworth Street, is also looking for evening volunteers. Whether it’s kids in need of community service hours or any other organization or person wanting to help, call Bonnie Potter and Cindy Harrington at (518) 581-1097 to set up a date to fill out an application.

“There’s constantly a need for volunteers,” Harrington said.


Shelters of Saratoga Top Needs



Powdered Creamer


Stewart’s Milk Cards

Grocery Store Gift Cards For Meals


Can Soup


Peanut Butter & Jelly


Cooking Oil

Instant Drinks

Spaghetti Sauce

Canned Tomatoes

Twin Blankets & Pillows

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