Food pantry at OESJ elementary school celebrates grand opening

ST. JOHNSVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A special honor was given to a school nurse in Montgomery County for her decades of service and volunteer work.

Her work will end up benefiting others for years to come.

“A year ago, we started off with this dream, and in less than a year, we’ve made this happen,” Jackie Lape said.

The dream was to help families in need make sure no one went hungry. With the opening of the Helping Hands Food Pantry in the D.H. Robbins Elementary School, the main inspirational force was Lape.

Lape was a school nurse for decades in the Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville Central School District and longtime Salvation Army volunteer.

“When she approached me about a year ago and pitched the idea of a food pantry at DHR, it was easy to support the notion,” Superintendent David Halloran said. “And she’s the kind of person that, you know, it’s not just talk.”

Although, if you ask Lape, she is quick to point out the name Helping Hands came from the many who worked together.

“The parents, as reading partners program, held a food drive,” she explained. “We’ve had our baseball team come and put the shelves together. We’ve had Girl Scout Troop 2710 with many Girl Scouts working and cleaning and organizing.”

The food pantry will help families in Montgomery, Fulton and Herkimer Counties year round – long after the holiday food drives have come and gone.

“We’re excited about the opening of our newest food pantry and look forward to having an impact in the lives of those who come to us in need,” Steven Lopes with the Salvation Army said. “We have great partners here and just a great example of how a community can come together.”

A community brought together by the example of one person making a difference.

“We’ve a very small community, but we’re a big family I would say,” Lape said.

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