A food pantry staff member helps a client with his selections.
Image by USDA
SNAP benefits EBT card
Image by USDA

Food Assistance Programs

Making ends meet during difficult times can be easier with help from the right programs and other community resources. Cornell Cooperative Extension works with many local food assistance programs to help families, individuals, and seniors find and access food resources that best meet their needs. 

Local Programs:

Food Bank of Central New York - Need help applying for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)? Contact Molly Johnson, SNAP Outreach Coordinator, at 315-437-1899 ext. 279 or mjohnson@foodbankcny.org

CNY Health Bucks - provide emergency food program guests with the opportunity to purchase produce at their local farmers market while simultaneously supporting the local economy. The $2 coupons are distributed through food pantries, soup kitchens, and other anti-hunger organizations. Consumers who use SNAP benefits may also receive Health Bucks as an incentive when using electronic benefits (EBT) at participating farmers marets. For more information, contact the Food Bank of Central New York at 315-437-1899. 

Food Sense - One of the CNY Food Bank's longest running programs, Food Sense is a monthly food buying co-op for anyone who wants to stretch their grocery dollars. Food Sense provides a monthly box of 12-15 staple grocery items at a discounted price. There are no qualifications, no subscriptions, and no requirements to participate in Food Sense. To order a Food Sense package, please visit the Watertown Urban Mission or call them at 315-782-8440 ext. 235. 

Meals on Wheels - Delivers high quality and balanced meals to people who are largely shut into their homes and at risk of hunger five days a week, including holidays. For more information or to register, call Monique at 315-785-3191. 

Salvation Army Soup Kitchen - Open Monday-Sunday from 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM. Supper Club meets on T and Th afternoons, 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM. Children (ages 5-12) are given a safe environment where they can play, receive a Bible lesson, learn life building skills and eat supper. For more information call 315-782-4470. 

Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) - Provides nutritious meals to children during the summer months when school meal programs are not available. SFSP is made possible by the United States Department of Education with promotional support from the Nutrition Outreach and Education Program. Children under the age of 18 and disabled persons under the age of 21 are encouraged to use the program. Lunches and snacks are available at a variety of locations throughout Jefferson County. For more information about the Summer Food Service Program, call 315-782-4900 ext. 222. Volunteers are always welcome. Call today and find out how you can get involved! 

Community Action Planning Council of Jefferson County Food PantryFood Pantry hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM. Please call 315-782-4900, ext. 221 for an appointment. For more information about the CAPC Food Pantry, contact Mary Jane Mathewson at 315-782-4900, ext. 222. 

Watertown Urban Mission Food Pantry - Food Pantry hours are Monday-Friday from 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM. They offer curbside and call-ahead pickups. Call 315-782-8440 ext. 222. 

Feed Our Vets - The Veterans Food Pantry is held at the Bruce Wright Memorial Conference Center on the 3rd Saturday of each month from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM. Please bring a valid ID. For more information, contact Carlos Da Silva at 315-767-8970 or carlos@feedourvets.org

Jefferson Community College - Located in the Deans Collaborative Learning Center, Building 15. Hours are M-Th 8-5 and Friday 8-4 or other times by appointment. Contact foodpantry@sunyjefferson.edu

Adams - Rohde Center - Open Monday, Thursday, and Friday, 9:30 AM to 12:45 PM and Tuesday from 11:00 AM - 2:30 PM and 3:00 PM - 6:45 PM. Call 315-232-2621 for additional information. You can order Food$en$e at www.adamsfoodsense.com. To participate in the Fresh Foods program, individuals must meet eligibility guidelines. Fresh Foods is a collaborative food program of the Rohde Center, the Food Bank of Central New York, participating grocery stores, and local farmers that salvages food that would otherwise be discarded and offers food insecure individuals the opportunity to receive fresh, nutritious food in their neighborhood. Fresh Foods distributions generally occur once a month on the 4th Friday of the month. Visit  https://rohdecenter.org/for dates and times. 

Alexandria Community Thrift Store & Food Pantry - The food pantry serves the Town of Alexandria and is open Thursdays, 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM. For more information call 315-486-9322. 

Antwerp Food Pantry - Open every Monday from 5:00 - 7:00 PM. Call 315-489-3081or 315-783-7527. 

Cape Vincent Food Pantry - Distribution days for pick-ups and deliveries begin at 10:00 AM. See calendar for details. Please call 315-654-2438 on Monday and Wednesday from 10:00 AM - 1:45 PM. For emergencies, contact the Executive Director at 315-775-4117. 

V.E.M Food Pantry of Carthage - Open Monday from 9 AM to 12 PM and Friday from 12 PM - 4 PM. Call 315-493-1341. 

Chaumont First Presbyterian Church - Contact Judy Rusho at rushoj@yahoo.com or call 315-532-0211 for assistance. 

Clayton - Council of Churches, St. Mary's Catholic Church - 315-686-4809, Monday & Wednesday 1:00 PM - 3:30 PM, Tuesday 6:00 - 8:00 PM.

Dexter - Dexter United Methodist Church, basement, located at 210 West Kirby Street. Please contact Food Pantry Coordinators, Barb Compeau, at 315-788-5238 or Barbara Tyler at 315-271-5844 for more information. 

Evans Mills - St. Mary's Catholic Church - 315-629-4458, Saturday 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM, no appt. necessary.

LaFargeville - Gwen's Food Pantry, Orleans Outreach Building - 315-658-4796, Saturday 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM or by appt.

Philadelphia - Indian River Baptist Church - 315-642-6115, Wednesday 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM, Saturday 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM, or by appointment. 

Sackets Harbor - St. Andrew's Catholic Church, Parish Center at the corner of Woolsey and East Main Street in Sackets Harbor. Contact Cecilia Perkins at (H) 315-646-2169 or (M) 315-559-1516, Thursday 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM, (Emergency by appointment). 

Theresa - Grace Community Church - Contact Regina Ryder at  680-222-6183 by appt only.  

Senior Meal Sites: 

These sites provide lunchtime meals for people 60 or over in a friendly group setting featuring various social and educational programs. The Senior Community Meal Sites are as follows: 

  • Calcium Community Church - Tuesdays, 10:30 AM - 1:30 PM 
    • 26816 NYS Route 342 Calcium, NY 13616
    • 315-788-3823 
  • Copley House - Every other Monday, 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM 
    • 12030 NYS Route 12E, Chaumont, NY 13622 
    • 315-405-5074 
  • Paynter Center - Tuesdays & Thursdays, 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM 
    • 914 Strawberry Lane Clayton, NY 13624 
    • 315-686-3553 
  • Alexandria Bay American Legion - Wednesdays, 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
    • 9 Rock St. Alexandria Bay, NY 13607 
    • 585-690-4870 
  • Gordon Courts - Fridays, 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM 
    • 39 Bolton Ave. Alexandria Bay, NY 13607 
    • 680-222-7038 

The suggested contribution amount is $3.50. No one is denied a meal if they are unable to contribute, all contributions are voluntary. For more information, visit https://co.jefferson.ny.us/nutrition-program

State & National Programs:

MyBenefits.Gov - myBenefits uses NY.gov, New York State's shared login service, which allows you to access online services from multiple New York State agencies with a single username and password. New York State residents can visit this web site to find out if you are eligible for help through SNAP, Temporary Assistance, HEAP, Affordable Connectivity Program, The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP), WIC, School Meals, Summer Meal Programs and more. 

SNAP provides electronic benefits that can be used like cash to help low-income working people, seniors, the disabled, and others feed their families. 

Our educational program series and lessons help families and households to stretch their food dollars to make healthier choices and eat better for less! Our  SNAP-Ed Program helps individuals and families who have limited resources to gain the knowledge and skills to make healthier food and activity choices. 

The SNAP-to-Market website helps you find NY Farmers' Markets where you can use your SNAP benefits (formerly Food Stamps) and explains how to make Farmers' Market purchases with them. You'll also find information on when fruits and vegetables are in-season at your market, and recipes to use with produce you buy. 

WIC - the Women, Infants & Children’s Supplemental Food Program provides nutritious foods, nutrition education, and referrals to community services for low-income pregnant and post-partum women and their children under five years of age. Breastfeeding support is available. For your, and your family’s safety, WIC will continue to provide ALL WIC services OVER-THE-PHONE until further notice. If you have questions, please call 315-782-9222.

Last updated November 17, 2023