On a blue sky March day with a hint of spring in the air, Bob Marr was among the local residents picking up a supply of food from a pantry in Brant Lake operated by North Country Ministry. He says access to food assistance is making “a big difference” for him, adding that food is expensive and he still has “normal bills to pay.”
The cost of essential living expenses is a challenge for Bob and many others with limited income or low earnings. One unexpected car repair, for instance, can result in families having to make difficult choices: food or rent, food or heat, food or medical care.
Nearly 16% of the population in the southern Adirondack region served by the ministry lives in poverty. 'We are pleased to be able to serve our neighbors in need in such a welcoming and attractive setting,' said Executive Director Judith McKinnon, referring to the site where Bob picked up a supply of cereal, soups, pasta, meat, peanut butter, and other items.
Originally from Albany, Bob said, “I came up for a tour in the 1960s and haven’t left yet.” Like many residents and visitors, he and his wife enjoy the pace of life here, along with opportunities for fishing and camping. He learned about the food pantry through a family member.
Judith says one initial contact with the ministry often leads to greater support services for extended families. Founded in North Creek in 1992 by a group of Catholic nuns and priests, North Country Ministry offers a range of assistance to people in need regardless of their faith. With campuses in North Creek, Warrensburg, and Brant Lake, the ministry provides furniture, clothing, food, heat, firewood, and counseling assistance to help people function in their daily lives, overcome a disaster like a house fire, or to improve their quality of life.
“We’re in the people-serving business,” Judith said. With a staff of seven, the ministry is “a small organization with a mighty mission.” Their motto is “offering a hand of hope,” and this past year they provided nearly $100,000 in economic aid, largely to alleviate pandemic-related hardship.
No matter the weather, pantry site manager Laurie Bartlett is always a ray of sunshine. Bob values conversations with her as much as the food he receives. We can relate: Judith and the ministry’s board chair, Bill Powers, are Adirondack Foundation’s go-to resources to find out what’s happening in their region. We are proud to support North Country Ministry through Generous Acts and other funds, including the Community Fund for the Gore Mountain Region.