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Sen. Gillibrand visits Penn Yan for 9/11 National Day of Service

John Christensen
The Chronicle-Express

Penn Yan

In observance of National Day of Service Friday, Sept. 11, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand visited The Living Well Mission in Penn Yan as a volunteer to help pack healthy meals for local residents struggling to make ends meet during the economic crisis. 

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand donated a bag of toiletries to Rev. Sandi Perl for The Living Well’s emergency needs cupboard, then helped pack 50 lunches as part of the National Day of Service in remembrance of 9/11.

Greeted by Rev. Sandi Perl, Executive Director of The Living Well, Gillibrand made a donation of toiletries much needed on the Living Well’s shelves. Gillibrand and Perl were joined by Penn Yan’s Mayor Leigh MacKerchar and Yates County Administrator/Treasurer Nonie Flynn.

Getting to work with two of her staff, Sen. Gillibrand dished up 50 servings of sloppy joes and bagged the hot lunches to be served for free from a cart on East Elm Street.

The Senator toured the facility with Perl and other volunteers, then got to work with two of her staffers dishing up sloppy joes, bagging them with other items for the “grab-and-go” lunches, and wheeled them out to the sidewalk of East Elm Street. 

Penn Yan Mayor Leigh MacKerchar accompanies the senator as she wheeled the cart out to the street. The “grab-and-go” lunches are welcome relief to the clients of the Living Well.

Gillibrand stresses that with more than 30 million Americans currently jobless and many struggling to put food on the table, the work of volunteers like those at the Living Well is more important than ever. 

Senator Gillibrand offers lunches in front of The Living Well.

According to Feeding America, nearly 100% of food banks reported an increase in demand for food assistance during the pandemic, with an average increase of 59%. Perl confirmed the same need among the residents of Yates County through the Well’s emergency food cupboard. Their program of caseworkers, pantries, food programs, and support group services has served more than 1,800 households. 

The senator’s visit and work with the Living Well volunteers and civic leaders like Mayor MacKerchar and Yates County Administrator Nonie Flynn were to highlight the growing desperation and need of many in the Finger Lakes region during the pandemic crisis.

The Senator arrived in Penn Yan by plane after attending the 9/11 Memorial Service in New York City with Vice Presidents Pence and Biden, and departed later for other events in Buffalo.