Food program finds new home in city

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Five Loaves Community Center has now found a home at Rome First United Methodist Church, 400 N. George St., helping to fill the nutritional needs of community members. Five Loaves Community Center is distributing boxes of food to include meat, produce and vegetables on Fridays and Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to noon, and after church services on Sundays from 1-3 p.m.

Formerly the Rome Wesleyan Church, program facilitator Kimberly Marshall said food distribution for the needy started 13 years ago, first known as Loaves and Fishes. That program then became known as Bread of Life, “but the district recently told us we had to close that location, so First United Methodist Church offered us their facility,” said Marshall.

Right now Fives Loaves Community Center is still in transition, but Hannaford Supermarket has been providing food items to the program so volunteers could start distribution. Marshall said they are looking for more volunteers to come help pack and distribute boxes of food on distribution days.

Those interested in receiving boxes need not provide proof or residency or income. Because some people were utilizing the service every day they were open because of the high need, Marshall said Five Loaves has now organized the distribution days to last names starting with the letters A-I on Fridays; J-R on Saturdays; and S-Z on Sundays.

“We had some people coming in every day and we were running out of food,” Marshall said. “Every since the start of COVID, we’ve had an increase with people getting food baskets.”

Five Loaves Community Center will also soon start cooking meals on Saturdays for distribution. Meals will be delivered to residents of Madison Plaza Apartments, Valentine Apartments, Colonial Apartments, Georgian Arms Apartments, etc. The meals are “for those who are disabled or handicapped,” Marshall said. “We hope to start that service in the next couple of weeks.”

Five Loaves Community Center is always looking for donations from area residents, whether it be in food and hygiene items, or monetary. They will accept food and non-perishable items, and hygiene necessities to include toothbrushes, toothpaste, women’s sanitary napkins, deodorant, diapers and baby wipes.

Monetary donations may be sent to First United Methodist Church, 400 N. George St., Rome, N.Y. 13440, with Five Loaves Community Center written in the memo line. Marshall said the organization is in the process of opening a specific bank account to deposit donations.

Donations may also be dropped off to the church in-person during the days and hours of food distribution.

Those looking for more information about Five Loaves Community Center, those interested in volunteering to pack and distribute boxes and serve meals, or those interested in receiving food boxes or delivered meals on Saturdays, should contact Marshall at 315-240-4608.

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Rev. James Swanson - Rome Wesleyan Church

We are so grateful that Pastor Mahar and First United Methodist were able to continue that vital ministry. We pray for God's blessing upon this ministry, Kim Marshall, First United Methodist and those who are being served. Pastor James - Rome Wesleyan

Saturday, September 18