ITHACA, N.Y. –– Heading into month eight of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Tompkins County residents are still facing economic hardship and in turn suffering from food insecurity.

To combat hunger, many local pantries and food focused organizations have stayed open throughout the pandemic and continued offering their services to residents in need, with slight adjustments to ensure safe distribution of supplies.

One of these organizations is the United Way of Tompkins County, who at the end of September held their annual “Day of Caring” in an elongated socially distanced manner –– conducting a “Week of Caring” to take in food donations that were in turn given out to local pantries.

“We had 12 different pantries who received items across the county. So we had pantry transfers all the way from Dryden and Newfield to Lansing,” said Emma Terwilliger, the director of community impact at the UWTC.

Terwilliger went on to say that the annual event was necessary more than ever because of the onset of the coronavirus and its effects on local food insecurity.

“I can say listening to feedback from our pantries and agencies and community members that all of them working around hunger and food security have seen increases in demand. It varies from pantry to pantry and agency to agency,” she said. “But they definitely saw a really clear increase with the onset of COVID-19 and continue to see more individuals and more need in the community than they have in years past.”

One of the groups that received food from UWTC’s week of caring is No Mas Lagrimas –– a local organization that has been working to combat hunger since before the pandemic began. Ana Ortiz, the director of No Mas Lagrimas said that since the pandemic began, places like UWTC but also the Friendship Donations Center and individual pantries like Immaculate Conception in downtown Ithaca have come together to share resources and make sure no one goes without what they need.

“No matter what, we are helping each other,” Otiz said.

Below is a list of local food pantries and resources for people in need. If you have information on other food banks/pantries serving the community, please send info to

St. John’s Community Service, at 618 W. State St., Ithaca is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. everyday during COVID-19.

Ithaca Kitchen Cupboard, at 150 N. Albany St., Ithaca is open every Monday through Thursday from 1:30 to 3 p.m. and on Fridays from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Tompkins Community Action will not open for the public but in order to ensure that families and individuals have access to their food resources, they request that Food Pantry customers in Tompkins County please call (607) 273-8816 to make an appointment to pick up food at 701 Spencer Road in Ithaca. Appointments will be created three times per week: Tuesdays from 1 to 4 p.m., Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to noon and again on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon.

Loaves and Fishes will continue their free meal service Monday through Friday. Lunch is Monday, Wednesday and Friday from noon to 1:00 p.m. Dinner is Tuesday and Thursday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. They are now also serving freshly prepared meals-to-go, from the front courtyard of St. John’s Episcopal Church, on the corner of Buffalo and N. Cayuga Streets.

The Immaculate Conception Food Pantry is moving back into their basement space located at 113 N. Geneva St. on Oct. 13 after completing asbestos abatement. They are open every Tuesday from 1 to 2 p.m. Food is distributed through menu ordering, and recipients are asked to gather in their side parking lot mid-morning in order to fill out order forms.

The Baptized Church of Jesus Christ is still being held at its normal hours, Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to noon and the third Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. located at 412 First St., Ithaca.

The Cornell Food Pantry, open to Cornell Community Members with a NetID, is operating at its normal hours throughout the semester. Those hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m., Wednesdays and Fridays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Sundays noon to 3 p.m. The Cornell Food Pantry is located at 109 McGraw Place on Cornell’s West Campus.

Southside Community Center is running a pantry Tuesday through Friday from 2 to 5 p.m. and the first and fourth Saturday of the month from noon to 2 p.m. They are located at 305 South Plain St., Ithaca. For more information call (607) 273-4190.

No Mas Lagrimas food distribution located at 706 W Buffalo St. behind the old “classrooms at GreenStar” is open every Thursday in October from 3 to 5 p.m. No Mas Lagrimas is open to all residents, and Spanish speakers can be accommodated completely in their native language. Donations are welcome Thursdays from 2 to 2:45 p.m. or anytime by contacting Ana Ortiz at (607) 279-7687.

The Press Bay walk-up pantry is every Monday from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Press Bay Court, located at 110 W. Green St., Ithaca.

Newfield Kitchen Cupboard pantry is being held at the usual time, first and third Wednesday of the month from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Newfield Methodist Church. However, the procedure for receiving food will be changed. No one except volunteers will be admitted to the building. There will also be no bathroom facilities available for public use. Occupants will be given a ‘grocery list’ of the usual available foods to select and circle their choices. Volunteer ‘runners’ will take filled out lists to volunteer ‘shoppers’ inside who fill the bags and return groceries to the cars. The pantry, located at Newfield United Methodist Church 227 Main St., Newfield, is for Newfield residents only.

The Caroline Food pantry, for Caroline residents only, located at 524 Valley Road, Brooktondale, will be following their normal schedule. The pantry will be held on the first and third Mondays, from 5 to 7 p.m. Volunteers will not be allowing patrons inside, but instead will be filling bags for them. Out of area patrons can fill out a form to be included in the next pantry.

The Enfield Food Pantry is open Sundays 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and Mondays from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Enfield Community Building, 182 Enfield Main Road, Ithaca. The Enfield Food Pantry primarily serves residents of the Town of Enfield, but at this time is waiving any residency requirement and are serving anyone who needs food.

Each week the pantry will post their menu on their website with a list of available items.

The Trumansburg Food Pantry, at the Trumansburg United Methodist Church located at 80 E Main St., Trumansburg is open Mondays from 5:15 to 6 p.m.

The Danby Food Pantry, for Danby Residents only located at the Danby Federated Church 1859 Danby Road, Danby is running normally on the third Thursday of the month from 3 to 6 p.m.

The Dryden Kitchen Cupboard located at the Dryden Presbyterian Church (red brick church) 6 North St., Dryden, is still currently open as normally scheduled. They will be open 11 to noon on Mondays and Fridays, on Wednesdays from 5 to 6 p.m. and the last Saturdays of the month, 11 to noon. Starting on Oct. 31 and running for the entirety of November, the Dryden Kitchen Cupboard will be hosting its Saturday pantry weekly.

Dryden United Methodist Church has suspended all community meals until further notice.

The Freeville Food Pantry, for Freeville residents only, will remain open for the time being. The pantry is open the second and fourth Monday of the month from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Freeville United Methodist Church 37 Main St., Freeville.

Groton Food Providers pantry, for Town of Groton residents only will be running weekly on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 7 p.m. They are asking patrons to come during scheduled times based on the first initial of their last name. Call (607) 592-4825 for a time slot. The pantry is located at Groton Assembly of God, Joyce Crouch Benevolence Building, 101 McKinley Ave., Groton.

The Lansing Food Pantry is open on the second Monday of the month from 10 a.m. to noon and the fourth Monday of every month from 1 to 3 p.m.

Anna Lamb

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