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Local teen adds food to Bloomingdale book booth

Dellice Chase adds the initial food donations to the Bloomingdale Food Pantry, part of the Bloomingdale Free Library in front of Hex and Hop, state Route 3, Bloomingdale. (Photo provided)

BLOOMINGDALE — Books and food — both are free for the giving and taking in this hamlet, thanks in part to a local 17-year-old.

Dellice Chase, a junior at Saranac Lake High School, reached out to Ollie Burgess, the owner of Specialty Wood Products who built and donated the Bloomingdale Free Library, and Ethan Mikesell, co-owner of Hex and Hop Brewery and Taproom where the little library booth stands out front on state Route 3. Chase asked if they would mind if she converted a section of the free-standing library into a food pantry.

“We are all living in strange times, and I thought it would be nice to have a place where people could share food, not just books,” Chase said. “We live in an area where neighbors help out neighbors, and I hope this little food pantry will be able to help out everyone. Anyone should feel free to use the pantry, just like they use the library.

“With permission from Mr. Burgess and Mr. Mikesell, I converted a quarter of the Bloomingdale Free Library into a food pantry,” Chase said. “Mr. Burgess has even offered to make and donate a new sign for the food pantry. I feel lucky to live in such a generous community.”

The teenager also met with members of the Saranac Lake Interfaith Food Pantry to discuss the best products to request for the little library’s shelves. Food pantry board members and volunteers Anne Cooney, Julie Weinstein and Pam Lewis discussed checking expiration dates on the food donations as well as what would be the best options for the community for the free-standing building.

Since the freestanding library isn’t pest-proof, Chase requests that people leave only food in cans or glass or plastic jars. Cardboard, paper, boxed or bagged foods may attract pests. Chase plans to keep track of the pantry and check expiration dates for donated products as well.

“I will be leaving a notepad on the food pantry shelf so that people can make requests,” she said. “I’m not sure what I can find, but I thought it would be a good starting point to figure out what people use and need.”

The Bloomingdale Free Library and Food Pantry is located in the parking lot of Hex and Hop Brewery and Taproom, 1719 Route 3, Bloomingdale.

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