A community fixture for over 25 years, the Franklin Community Center’s primary objective is to “send people out the door with whatever it is they came in looking for,” and lately, what they’ve been looking for is food.
“We are one of the few food pantries that helps anyone that needs help,” said Bo Goliber, coordinator of development and volunteers at the center. “We’re open 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Friday; we see more traffic here because we’re more accessible.”
Stocked solely by community donations, the center’s food pantry is always in need of more supplies.
“We’re doing everything we can on our end with such a small staff,” said Goliber. “It’s tough to keep the shelves stocked in the summer.”
The summer months bring with them an additional financial burden for low-income families. Children in eligible families who are enrolled in the National School Lunch Program receive lunch, and sometimes breakfast, at free or reduced prices during the school year. During the summer those meals aren’t available.
“It’s very difficult,” said Goliber. “We have definitely seen a jump in the number of people [using the pantry]. Our biggest increase comes from people who have never had to receive services before, like people recovering from an unexpected life event; they can come here because they might not qualify at other places.”
It’s hard to imagine that even families in beautiful Saratoga Springs are trying just to blend in, to get by.
“You can’t recognize a needy individual just by looking at them,” said Goliber. “It’s helpful to recognize that there is more than one point of view.”
To keep Saratoga’s children and families fed this summer, it’s important that the community does its part.
“It’s all about the community,” said Goliber. “Franklin Community Center is just the facilitator who takes their generosity and gets it to the people who need it the most, right here in the community. We wouldn’t be here without that support.”