Making Ends Meet

Last Thursday, the Workers’ Center’s Unemployed & Underemployed Support Group welcomed a guest speaker, Helen Ranck of Cornell Cooperative Extension. Helen is the Financial Management Educator at the Tompkins County CCE; she showed our group how to prioritize debt, negotiate with some creditors and how to access your credit report for free. Helen’s expertise showed us that there are free or low cost services available to all of us in the community. And whether you’re unemployed, underemployed or just plain low paid, learning about these services is welcome.

Here a few you might like to look into:

  • workshops at CCE include Exploring Credit/Debt Management Issues, Making Ends Meet and Save Energy, Save Dollars. Helen is also available for individual budget counseling. She can show you how to manage the bills you have or create a budget that allows some saving. You can contact CCE and Helen at 272-2292 or Helen at
  • we’ve mentioned the Ithaca Free Clinic before but it bears repeating: The Ithaca Free Clinic is open to all uninsured members of our community. The volunteer physicians, herbalists, acupuncturists and others join with the clinic staff in supporting the belief that access to health care is a right, and not a privilege. The Ithaca Free Clinic is located at 521 West Seneca Street in Ithaca, NY. Walk in clinic hours are Mondays 2–6, Thursdays 4–8. The Clinic also has appointments on other days for Occupational therapy, pre-employment physicals and pain management. For other questions, contact the Clinic director at 607-330-1254 or email
  • Contact Tompkins Community Action for a free energy audit. Income qualified homeowners, renters and landlords can get help with insulation, appliances and other energy saving aspects of your home. The number there is 607-273-8816.
  • Sliding scale counseling is available from Family and Children’s Services and the Tompkins County Mental Health Clinic.
  • Friendship Donations coordinates pantries and other food-sharing programs. Here is an up-to-date (as of November 1, 2010) list of pantries and other outlets in Tompkins County:

Friendship Donations Network’s List of free, fresh food distribution locations:

Produce, breads, desserts, Assorted dairy, deli, breads, Non-perishable groceries (when available):
*MONDAY, WEDNESDAY and FRIDAY – noon; TUESDAY/THURSDAY – 6 pm: COMMUNITY meal at Loaves and Fishes,
210 N. Cayuga St. This is NOT A PANTRY. Everyone is welcome!

TUESDAYS: Immaculate Conception Church Food Pantry. Seneca and Geneva St., Ithaca 1:00 to 1:45

COMMUNITY meal at 6:PM, at Loaves and Fishes, 210 N. Cayuga St. All welcome!

WEDNESDAYS: Candor Food Pantry, Rt 96, across from Post Office, 3-6pm
COMMUNITY meal at Noon at Loaves and Fishes, 210 N. Cayuga St. All welcome!

THURSDAYS: Halsey Valley Pantry, GAR building, Hamilton Rd, Halsey Valley, NY, 4–4:45.
COMMUNITY meal at 6:PM, at Loaves and Fishes, 210 N. Cayuga St. All welcome!

THURSDAY Prior to 3RD FRIDAY –Danby Food pantry. Residents only. Danby Federated Church, Rt. 96 at 6 – 8pm.
COMMUNITY meal at 6:00PM, at Loaves and Fishes, 210 N. Cayuga St. All welcome!

FRIDAYS: Interlaken Reformed Church Pantry, Interlaken, NY, 3 – 6 pm.
COMMUNITY meal at Noon at Loaves and Fishes, 210 N. Cayuga St. All welcome!
3rd Friday, shared with Danby Food Pantry; 4 to 6pm. Limited to Danby residents only

Every Saturday: Community meal at Salvation Army, Noon, 150 N. Albany St. ALL WELCOME!
1st Saturday: Catlin Methodist Church Pantry, Catlin, NY
2nd Saturday: #1: Workers Center Pantry, Linderman Creek Apts, Comm. Rm #1, noon
#2: Grace Lee Church, Beaver Dams, NY 2pm
3rd Saturday: Maranatha Church, Elmira, NY
4th Saturday; McLean Community Church: Church St. McLean, NY, Pantry 1:30-2:15
5th Saturday , Youth Bureau and outreach to rural trailer parks (when 5th saturday occurs in the month)


Every Sunday, Community meal, “Our Brothers, our Sister’s Table; Salvation Army 3pm, 150 N. Albany St. All welcome!

Alternating Sundays (11/07, 11/21):

Valorie’s Food Pantry in Catlin, NY and Outreach to rural families

Alternating Sundays (11/14, 11/28):

Overlook Apartments”, Community Room, noon – 12:30
Reach Out to Christ Pantry and Outreach, Johnson Rd, Freeville. 12 to 2pm.

*Daily pantry listings, see Ithaca Journal, “Daily Events”; Weekly Advantage/ Pennysaver; Tompkins Weekly; and 211
Eligibility: Pantries for low to moderate income persons. No questions! No ID!
LIMIT: 1 pantry p/week per household. Non-profit 501c3. Mostly volunteer-run

Let us know about your tips to make your budget stretch.