A mostly older population in the town of Lucerne gathered at the Christian church on a chilly morning earlier this month expressed a lot of appreciation for The Food Bank’s monthly Mobile Pantry.

Sharon even got teary eyed thinking about what she and her husband would do without it. They live on one disability check, and Sharon doubts they would have produce or meat if they had to purchase it.

“Without The Food Bank, we wouldn’t be able to make it through the month,” she said before collecting the meat, corn, potatoes and other products available. “It’s a blessing.”

Lucerne is in Putnam County at the northwest tip of The Food Bank’s 32-county service area. It has a population of roughly 85 residents, about a quarter of whom live below the poverty line.

Flo has lived in the area her entire life. She knew most of the people at the Mobile Pantry.

“Everybody here appreciates The Food Bank,” she said, scanning the waiting room.

Flo worked at a nearby nursing home for 15 years before quitting a few years ago because of health issues. She now relies on The Food Bank for produce and other healthy food.

“Fruit helps, but it costs a lot, so the produce is great,” she said. “Thank you. I wouldn’t have any nutritional food without it, and that’s what I need the most.”

Barbara attended the mobile for the first time in several months. Her husband of 57 years passed away on Christmas Eve, and medical and funeral expenses have taken a toll.

“I’m on Social Security, so this helps.”

Leona agreed, saying most of the senior citizens at the mobile were on limited incomes.

“There are a lot of seniors in need here,” she said. “I am a senior, and I don’t have money for food. This is very, very helpful.”

The residents of Putnam also give back. About a dozen volunteers stood in below-freezing temperatures to help pass out the food.

Sharon would also love to be able to give, joking that if she were ever to hit "the jackpot," she would donate it to The Food Bank.

Those who do donate, she said, “deserve a blessing."