ITHACA, N.Y. –– After closing their doors in January for asbestos abatement and then remaining closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Immaculate Conception food pantry has finally re-opened its doors.

The pantry at 113 N Geneva St. opened for their first trial run with new coronavirus health precautions on June 23.

When the pantry closed in January due to asbestos being found in the basement area of the church, where the food pantry is located. It was estimated that the abatement and subsequent renovations would take about a month to do and Immaculate Conception first announced plans to re-open just before coronavirus swept through the Southern Tier and they were forced to put those plans on hold.

According to Manager Denise Robinson, to prevent crowding and virus contamination within the pantry space, patrons are being asked to wait outside the pantry and fill out an order form that volunteers will then fill.

“We’re really trying to limit client volunteer contact because most of our volunteers are 70 plus,” Robinson said.

The pantry is open every Tuesday from 1 to 2 p.m. They have fresh produce available every week from Stick and Stone Farms, amongst other pantry items.

“It will change week to week but (choices) will stay pretty much the same,” Robinson said.

Anyone who wants to utilize the pantry is asked to wear a mask and if they can, bring a reusable bag. Customers will be required to maintain 6-feet of social distance while waiting for service.

To find additional food resources check out the Food Bank of the Southern Tier’s interactive list of open food pantries.

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at alamb@ithacavoice.com