Photo submitted – Left to right: Kelly Brown (Coalition Chief)-Spike Seeley (Dolgeville Pantry Director)-Devin McDonald (Coalition Treasurer)-Conrad Dowhaniak (Herkimer Elks Exalted Ruler)-RJ Lenarcic(-Coalition Director)-Ron Schoonmaker (Coalition Director)-Laura Hailston (Coalition Director).

The Herkimer County Hunger Coalition held its monthly meeting Tuesday night at the Herkimer Elks Lodge. Director Kelly Brown presided.

The following issues were discussed/acted on. First, pantry representatives indicated that they were in good shape. The Jordanville-Van Hornesville Pantry was given $500 for its annual Easter Baskets Program, and $500 will be sent to the pantry’s Food Sense accounts at the Food Bank of Central N.Y. Food Sense is a monthly food buying co-op for anyone who wants to stretch grocery dollars (e.g., monthly box of 12-15 staple grocery items at a discounted price). Readers interested in participating should contact their local pantry for more information.

Secondly, Director Ray Lenarcic reported on Coalition activities since January 1, including Black History Month book donations to area elementary-secondary schools, a donation to Doctors Without Borders (Turkey-Syria earthquakes), a Cruise by Mike (Bulger) donation of 40 new winter coats to Gram Lorraine for Benton Hall Academy pupils, and upcoming Lenny the Leprechaun Food Drive in memory of Fallen Star Medal of Honor recipient Lt. Mike “Irish” Murphy (KIA in Afghanistan) to be held from March13-17 at Benton Hall. The Coalition donated to Herkimer Pop Warner (Dom Scalise, Jr.).

Lenarcic also reminded attendees to spread the word regarding having a veteran’s name added to a wall at Veterans Memorial Park on Herkimer College’s campus and on donating to Feed Our Vets (502 Broad St., Utica).

Thirdly, Director Ron Schoonmaker, a Vietnam veteran, reported that his annual Flags for Veterans’ Graves Project would take place on Saturday, May 20, at Oak Hill and Cavalry Cemeteries in Herkimer. Anyone interested in volunteering for this most worthwhile project can call Ron at 315-894-0854. The event includes an opening ceremony with a guest speaker at 9 A.M. The Coalition donated money for the flags.

Schoonmaker said, “Please come and join us, meet some great people, and feel good about doing something nice for our vets.” The Coalition will also be placing flags at St. Peter and Paul Cemetery in East Herkimer.

Fourthly, Director Laura Hailston reported on the Coalition’s Marine Cpl. Michael Mayne Cookie Corps and indicated that volunteer drivers are needed for the spring. Anyone interested in transporting items and/or donating food to the Hospitality Room at Syracuse’s Hancock Airport can call her at 315-894-9917.

Director Brown concluded the meeting at 7:15 PM and reminded everyone that the next meeting would be held Tuesday, March 28th-same time-same place.