Pastor Ronald Young Jr. and his wife Melissa Young operate a food bank inside their ministry: Bridge of Hope. Located in the village of Canaseraga, the food bank started roughly 20 years ago. It has since served the surrounding communities of Alleghany, Livingston, and Steuben Counties.
According to its Facebook page, Bridge of Hope states in part: “It is our privilege to serve the community through a grant-funded food pantry, large clothing pantry, local activities and urban outreaches to the Rochester area.”“It started out as…a one-room [food bank] where congregation members brought…in cans of food and loaves of bread…and it grew from there,” Melissa Young said.
Within the scope of its reach, Bridge of Hope serves many families in the respective communities.
“We serve about 100 to 150 families monthly,” Melissa Young said
With the advent of COVID-19, this expanded the reach of the food pantry as more people became aware of its services.
“We actually ramped up our advertising and our connections within the community because we were aware that there was a need,” Melissa Young explained.
Bridge of Hope utilizes Foodlink food bank to receive grants for its services.
“The grants they provide [are] incredible; the training they provide is great,” Melissa Young said.She explained that Bridge of Hope has continued to carry out their services with drive-thru’s.
“People pull up, they pop their trunk, [and] put their food in there,” Melissa Young said
The food pantry plans on growing and further spreading the work of their services.
“We’re just gonna continue to grow as the needs of the community grow,” Melissa Young said. “This food bank seeks to help everyone and anyone who needs this service.
There’s no income requirement. All [you] have to do is register through Foodlink,” she concluded.
The service offers something more than getting people through rough times, however.
“We really want to offer people hope…we want them to understand that [they’re] not alone,” Melissa Young said.
The Bridge of Hope drive-up food pantry operates on the first Saturday from 9am-noon, and the third Wednesday of every month from 6-8pm.