LOWVILLE, N.Y. (WWTI) — The Lowville Food Pantry and its staff have worked hard over the years to provide food for the residents of Lewis County and now the organization is doing better than ever.

The Lowville Food Pantry is the largest food pantry in Lewis County and is affiliated with Food Bank of CNY Feeding America, Feeding Children, and a number of other family feeding programs, according to CEO and Executive Director Dan Taylor. He said that when he first accepted the position the pantry was only open once a month. It’s now open five days a week, offering 24-hour emergency services and serving almost 300 families in Lewis County.

The pantry recently relocated to a new, larger building allowing them to provide more food to more people. The facility was built using community funds and was designed to work as a pantry and a place where people could feel comfortable while still having plenty of room for storage. Fort Drum soldiers contributed by setting up and stocking shelves.

Taylor said pantry volunteers focus on providing nutritional needs including, grains, proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables. They also offer personal care items including clothes, diapers, baby food, baby items, nutrition drinks for seniors, and more.

The staff accommodates individuals by taking into consideration dietary restrictions, allergies, and religious beliefs. Taylor said it’s important to look at the customers’ perspectives to make sure no food goes to waste.

“If you work with them and talk to them and make them understand, we want you to take food you’re actually going to eat, we don’t want to give you something you’re not going to eat,” Taylor said.

Taylor works to make sure the pantry not only provides food that’s nutritional, but also meals that taste good.

“We will test kitchen them and see how they cook up and what’s the best way to serve them, and then we give them the recipes we used or things we came up with,” Taylor said. “I love to cook, so I don’t want to give somebody something that doesn’t taste good.”

He said what the pantry has been able to accomplish would not have been possible without the support of the community.

“This has been one of the most fantastic communities to live in. The people of this community have come together in so many ways,” Taylor said. “Whenever there’s something that happens here, the people of Lewis County come together and help.”

The Lowville Food Pantry is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. and Tuesday and Thursday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Donations can be made at the facility in Lowville or on the Lowville Food Pantry website.