MAHOPAC, N.Y. - Calling it the largest food drive in Carmel history, Town Councilman Frank Lombardi said that the Knights of Columbus councils from both Carmel and Mahopac collected more than $12,000 in cash, checks and gift cards, and about $10,000 worth food to donate to area food pantries.

The Knights of Columbus Our Lady of the Lakes Council 6318, and the John P. Mooney Council 5743, along with Lombardi and Councilman Robert Schanil Jr., sponsored the drive to collect provisions for the local food pantries on Saturday, April 18, at St. John’s the Evangelist and the Gilead Presbyterian Church at the Geary Skate Park parking lot across from the Mahopac firehouse on Route 6.

Lombardi said the food pantry at St. James, the Catholic Church in Carmel, has closed during the pandemic so all the money and foodstuffs will be funneled primarily through the St. John’s pantry.

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It was a cold and rainy Saturday morning, but Lombardi said that didn’t stop residents from coming out and showing their generosity.

“The weather was a non-factor,” he said. “People wanted to come out and help and were incredibly generous. They’ve been indoors for six weeks, so they were happy to get out and do something positive.”

Lombardi said when the drive finished on Saturday, they brought the food up to the St. John’s food pantry.

“We set up an assembly line, man to man to man, from the truck up to the church,” he said.

The drive was so successful that St. John’s food pantry officials said they were filled up and couldn’t accept any more donations at this time. However, Lombardi said that will change if the pandemic continues to linger. He said more food drives will be held should the need arise.

“We will do whatever we need to do,” he said. “There are so many in our own town who are in desperate need right now.”

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