Hundreds line up for Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe food giveaway

Published: May. 10, 2022 at 5:02 PM EDT
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AKWESASNE, N.Y. (WCAX) - If you traveled down state Route 37 in Akwesasne, New York, on Tuesday, you probably noticed a very long line of cars. That’s because people were trying to get to the former IGA building where 1,000 boxes of free food were being given away.

Members of the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe were greeted with a friendly smile after lining up along the reservation’s main road for nearly two hours to hit the food giveaway.

“It moves along, listen to the radio,” Mark Jacobs said.

Those in line said the wait was worth it.

“It’s going to help me so much. My husband and I are seniors,” Vanessa Lavare said.

Helpful because they no longer need to worry about where they will get this week’s groceries.

“With the recession and all the obstacles that COVID has put forward, they put a lot of barriers. So our community is really in need of food security,” said Starr Thomas, the assistant executive director of the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe.

The tribe started offering food giveaways during the pandemic after seeing a need.

Tuesday’s drive was their fourth so far and it’s all possible because of a partnership with FEMA.

“We are able to provide emergency food, test kits and assistance with vaccines, different things like that,” Thomas explained.

Tuesday, 50 volunteers from several different sectors of the tribe packed water bottles, cans, meats, condiments and foods into cars. Sanitizing wipes and COVID tests were packed up, too.

Those receiving the boxes say it’s a weight lifted and they are grateful for the community “working together to build a better tomorrow.”

“With the cost of everything going up, it’s great. Gas going up, oil going up-- it helps a lot,” Jacobs said.

“I appreciate it so much,” Lavare said. “I just love this program.”

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