The Ellicottville Food Pantry needs constant contributions of food and money to continue serving those in our area who cannot afford to buy enough food for their family.
Wednesday, Nov. 14 marks the fourth year that Bob McCarthy’s John Deere tractor and trailer will be parked outside the Gin Mill to collect donations of food for the pantry. Beginning around 9 a.m. until about 6:45 p.m., McCarthy will entertain passersby with Irish music and stories galore. As vehicles pull alongside, he will gladly assist them in transferring donations to the trailer.
“I do it right about now because it’s getting close to Thanksgiving. Because of that one event, there has been such an awareness of the food pantry. People are in need,” said McCarthy. “We do it in the middle of the week. I believe the local people will take care of their own. We don’t need it to come from somewhere else.”
Bob loves Ellicottville and does just about anything to help people. “People believe in me,” said McCarthy, who does everything he can for the Ellicottville community. “Whatever it is, I can make it happen. Present the need and then I’ll present the event and give you the money.”
When Rev. Deb Packard was a new pastor at the United Church of Ellicottville, where the food pantry is located, there was a great shortage of food and she was at a loss how to replenish it.
When McCarthy found out, he put an article in the paper, got the wagon and tractor, dressed in his best Irish clothes, and sat on the tractor all day waving to people coming along encouraging them to bring donations of food. The amount of food they received flattened the tires on the trailer! It filled the food pantry shelves and raised about $1,000 in cash.
“The idea is that if it’s only a can of soup, that’s a can of soup (the food pantry) didn’t have on Tuesday,” said McCarthy.
Becca Whited, who started an account for the Gowanda Flood Relief, turned over the fund to Ellicottville Public Charities when Gowanda didn’t need funding anymore. The food pantry is included under this umbrella. Sherman Wilkens administers the account and is in charge of buying food with the money donated.
The Ellicottville Food Pantry serves Otto, East Otto, Great Valley, Ellicottville and West Valley and accepts donations all year. To find out the best time to drop off donations, call (716) 699-4003. Call for hours or to make an appointment. You can also send a check made out to Ellicottville Public Charities and send it to P.O. Box 1387, Ellicottville, NY 14731-1387.