Owego non-profit feeds hungry people with 'blizzard boxes'

Monica Sandreczki
January 3, 2014

The winter storm moving through New York has shut down schools, roads and community organizations. But one group in Tioga County has still managed to feed the hungry, despite being shut in.

Tioga Opportunities is a not-for-profit based in Owego, offering in-home care and food assistance for people in Tioga County. The group delivers meals to about 200 elderly people in the county.

Anne McManus-Grant works at Tioga Opportunities. She says volunteer drivers can’t be expected to dig out to deliver the meals.

So her group plans ahead, giving out boxed meals, called Blizzard Boxes, before winter starts.

“There’s a package of crackers, raisins, juice boxes, prepackaged cookies, cans of beef stew, chili, tuna salad. Little package of green beans.”

One Blizzard Box feeds one person for a day. Usually, Grant says, that’s all that’s needed during the winter, but with the intense winter this year, one box might not be enough.

“By tomorrow, I think we’ll have a better idea. We’re making phone calls right now to all the home-delivered clients to see if they’ve used their meals.”

So far so good, she says. But Tioga Opportunities is the only group in the county that does home-delivered meals. If volunteers can’t get out Friday, it could mean some people go hungry.