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      Cook-Off raises money for Food Bank of CNY, uses food found in local pantries

      Toward the end of last year Assumption Food Pantry in Syracuse almost closed up its doors. More than one thousand families throughout Syracuse would have had to find a different place to get their food from. CNY Central stepped in to bring awareness to this problem. The community pitched in and helped to keep the pantry open. Today they are able to provide for anyone who needs a helping hand.

      Simone Pearson is the Director of the Assumption Food Pantry. He remembers what is was like over the winter and says how people are happy to return. "A lot of the people were comfortable coming back. We as a food pantry have just been blessed to receive the support of the community," says Pearson.

      During events like Savor Syracuse, Tom Slater helps to keep these food pantries operating. This cook off at the Holiday Inn in Liverpool looks to raise $40,000 for the Food Bank of Central New York. Slater is the Executive Director for the Central New York Food Bank. "We provide meals to children at the Boys and Girls Club, city parks and rec sites. So food becomes a tool to bring kids off the streets to positive programming, tutoring, homework. So food is so much more than just nourishment."

      This was one of the messages that everyone, including Executive Chef Stephen Landon, wanted to get out here. All of the food which the Vernak Farms chef used during the cook off were items which could be found in your local food pantry. "Something that you would find day to day, in a grocery store, your own refrigerator, in the protein drawer of your refrigerator. Vegetables, canned goods, things that are just readily available that everybody can buy," says Landon.