Toni Adams has been named the May Community Hero of the Month, presented by the Tompkins Chamber in partnership with Tompkins Community Bank. This award recognizes individuals from Tompkins County who have significantly impacted the community.
As Executive Director of the Lansing Food Pantry, Adams has been helping to ensure local families have access to healthy and nutritious food. In her role, Adams coordinates volunteers, serves clients, orders and manages inventory, and manages the food pantry’s finances.
“She is the driving force behind the Lansing Food Pantry that so many depend on,” Adams’ nomination stated. “Toni’s work makes a huge difference in the lives of our neighbors, making sure folks do not go hungry and kids have what they need to grow and thrive.”
Additionally, Adams is part of the Lansing Lunchbox team, a food program that serves children in the Lansing Central School District.
“Toni volunteers her time (hours and hours each and every week without fail) and gives her good will to make sure the rest of us are taken care of,” the nomination stated. “Toni has dedicated her efforts to helping. That’s the definition of a community hero.”
“The people I work with are all very much into helping other people,” said Adams, “and the clients that come in to those two programs, they’re so appreciative.”
Adams has more than thirty years of experience in human resources and applies her passion for helping people to her current roles.
“Maybe it’s ingrained in me, I’ve done it (helping people) for so long,” she said. “That’s the way people should be. That’s the way I grew up and I made a big assumption that everybody is that way.”
The effect of Adams’s work has been nothing but positive, according to Tompkins Chamber President Jennifer Tavares. “Toni exemplifies the impact a passionate, caring volunteer can have on their local community,” Tavares said. “Her work as Executive Director of the Lansing Food Pantry and support for the Lansing Lunchbox school-based food program have helped hundreds of families navigate hard times and adverse economic conditions. We need more Tonis in this world.”
Tompkins President and CEO Greg Hartz said Adams’s contribution to the Lansing community is notable. “Toni is a perfect example of a community hero,” he said. “She fills a great need in Lansing, and she thinks nothing of giving her energy to make sure people facing food insecurity have access to healthy and nutritious food. It is people like Toni that make our communities special.”
Adams has worked with Food Bank of the Southern Tier through the Lansing food programs, and her work has not gone unnoticed by that agency’s leadership. “Coupled with the depth of her knowledge of food insecurity, civil rights, and the Lansing community, Toni leads with team, smarts, and heart,” said Kathleen Pasetty, FBST programs and partnerships coordinator. “Her pantry pivoted to a drive-thru model during COVID and continues to tweak its systems based on community feedback. Toni’s thoughtfulness extends to the Food Bank drivers, with little thank you’s along the way in their full, stressful days. She’s responsive and dedicated. We are so grateful for this partnership with Toni and the Lansing Food Pantry, and this award is so well deserved.”
Adams will receive a Community Hero of the Month plaque and a few additional surprises from Tompkins Community Bank.